Babette’s Feast (Babettes Gaestebud)
This Danish film is minimal in dialog and maximal in sensory rich details. The ‘textures’ of each perfect scene draws me intimately into the story and builds my anticipation for culinary love. By the time the cast sits for Babette’s brilliantly crafted cuisine, I am sharing in every dinner guest’s bite, sip and whiff. I am applauding with a wonderfully repressed hunger the fragrances of the next dish to come parading out from the rustic French kitchen, and I am savoring the fine liquors, wines and sauces that lavishly accent and finish each course.
Like Water for Chocolate
This is magical realism film situated in Mexico. Each dish prepared is symbolically tied to the Protagonist’s life, so you can image much of the story takes place in the kitchen or around food. Like Babette’s Feast the motivation for the food is love, or shall I say in this film’s case, lust. The crescendo of the story is a feast of unspoken desires, made tangible by tasty and beautiful dish of Quail in Rose-Petal Sauce. I discovered this recreation on a blog called “Cooking with the Movies”. It looks so similar to the one in the film. Yum!
The Scent of Green Papaya
This love story is staged in Vietnam between the late 1940s and early 1960s, and is seen through the eyes of a young woman who is taken as a servant into a merchant family’s home. This film is so controlled and serene, I can’t help but feel completely immersed in the sensory-scape, so precise and deliberate. These characteristics of the film make the presence of traditional ingredients and cuisine so memorable. Every grain of rice and every blink of the protagonist’s eye is accounted for. The film inspires a way of collecting, preparing, and consuming, as much as a curiosity about the simplicity and order of eating in that time and place. Beautiful!