Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Food Movies

Food movies form a subgenre of food literature, and there have been some good ones. Of course, the best ones are not just about food, but about people in interesting situations. I list a few below, but solicit recommendations from others because I am sure I am omitting many.

The greatest food movie is certainly Babette's Feast, a French/Danish movie in which a French chef uses her dazzling cooking skills to wake up an entire Danish town of straight-laced protestants.

I also love The Big Night, which has a lot to say about the origins of interesting Italian food in America but also about family.

An excellent but less well-known food movie is a French movie, A Chef in Love, about a French chef in Georgia during the period of the Russian Revolution.

I also liked Mostly Martha (a German movie) and, to a lesser extent, the American remake, No Reservations.

And Chocolat, a nice story with the wonderful Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp.

Although not a food movie, there are some magnificent (if somewhat implausible) food scenes in Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence.

Finally, two well-respected food movies that I don't know well are Ang Lee's The Wedding Banquet and Eat Drink Man Woman.

Bobby Jay


Lixian said...

I would also add Tampopo to this mix! Its a masterpiece/ noodle western about the love of food.

Bobby Jay said...

Thanks, lixian. You are absolutely right. Tampopo is an adorable movie about a Japanese woman who starts a ramen shop.

kintaro said...

Another great food film is Vatel (2000), based on the life of the 17th century French chef Francois Vatel. Gerard Depardieu plays Vatel and Uma Thurman the mistress of Louis XIV. Lavish in all ways, including the food.

Anonymous said...

The Mexican film "Like Water for Chocolate" is one of the best.

Bobby Jay said...

On Kintaro's suggestion, I watched Vatel. I found it disappointing considering the fantastic cast (well OK, I have to confess to not liking Gerard Depardieu most of the time) and lush production. I just didn't get emotionally involved. Definitely some amazing food is on view, but mostly just tantalizing glimpses.

Bobby Jay said...

Thanks to Michael for the lead to Like Water for Chocolate, which I have just watched. A lovely, mystical movie where the food is an important ingredient.

the five o'clock teaspoon :: fiveoclockteaspoon.com said...

Have you seen Rice People(1994)? It is a Cambodian film about a family's struggles to cultivate rice. The film highlights the often overlooked story of those who produce the food we eat. Although sad, the story is illuminating and thought provoking.

Bobby Jay said...

Thanks, Five O'Clock Teaspoon. I have added Rice People to the top of my Netflix queue. I love your blog, by the way.