20 February 2010

Weekend Cooking: Babette's Feast (The Film)

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One of my favorite movies is a Danish film based on Isak Dinesen's short story of the same name, Babette's Feast. The basic premise is that a French woman runs to Denmark to escape war in her home country. She finds employment in the house of two very religious and very conservative spinster sisters. Babette learns to cook the bland and boring food the sisters deem proper fare for the righteous.

When Babette wins the lottery, she decides to hold a banquet for the Danish people who took her in. As the wine flows and the sensual food is served, we discover who Babette really is and a few secrets of the sisters.

When I was looking for a summary of the film, I noticed that the movie site IMDb says the story takes place in nineteenth-century Denmark, but a site dedicated to Babette's Feast and Dinesen says it is located in Norway.

Regardless of the setting, I recommend the movie. The film is subtitled for those of us who don't speak Danish, but it is well worth your time. Dinesen's subtle sense of humor and love for food are both well appreciated. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1986.

I have not read the short story, which was first published in English for The Ladies Home Journal.

Here's the best trailer I could find in English.

FTC: I bought the film on tape but no longer own a VCR, if you want to send me a DVD, I'll review the movie again.


Sandy,  3/18/10, 7:23 AM  

I LOVE this movie. I'm sure a big part of the appeal for you and I is the actually cooking part of the film. And how she heals the souls of all those hypocritical townspeople with her food. I could watch the movie over and over again!

Julie 3/18/10, 7:24 AM  

I'll be back tomorrow with a link to my favorite new cookbook!

wordlily 3/18/10, 7:25 AM  

I really enjoyed this film. So many reasons it's great!

Chrisbookarama,  3/18/10, 7:26 AM  

Sounds really interesting. I'll have to look for it.

Kaye,  3/18/10, 7:26 AM  

That sounds really good. I love your disclosure to the FTC!

NicoleBo,  3/18/10, 7:27 AM  

This sounds like a good film. I love Babbette's idea for a feast. Those are always good.

Bermudaonion 3/18/10, 7:28 AM  

This sounds wonderful! Since the righteous are supposed to eat bland food, I wonder what that says about me and my love for spicy foods!

caite 3/18/10, 7:28 AM  

I saw the movie once, long ago and don't remember it too well. Time to watch it again!

Margot 3/18/10, 7:29 AM  

This is one I must see. I want to see the contrast between bland and rich in both food and color. I'd like to find the short story too.

Heather 3/18/10, 7:29 AM  

I don't think I have ever seen this though the title is familiar.

Vasilly,  3/18/10, 7:30 AM  

I've been meaning to read the story and watch the movie for ages now! I'm definitely going to have Netflix send me the movie next week. Thank you so much for reminding me about it. I'm off to see if I can find the story!

Ali 3/18/10, 7:31 AM  

It's been a while since I watched this but I remember expecting to love it and falling asleep during it instead. That may have had more to do with the fact that I had young children at the time, than the movie, though. I should give it another try now that I'm not sleep deprived.

Nymeth 3/18/10, 7:31 AM  

I really like the sound of both the movie and the short story.

caite 3/18/10, 7:32 AM  

btw, I liked your FTC disclaimer..lol

Lenore 3/18/10, 7:33 AM  

I watched this back when I was trying to learn Danish. I liked it!

Robin of M.T.B. 3/18/10, 7:33 AM  

I haven't ever watched this and totally forgot about it. Will have to look for it, I actually had something food related this week. Yeah me. :)

Dawn 3/18/10, 7:34 AM  

I haven't read the short fiction or seen the movie. Do let me know if the FTC takes you up on the DVD review :)

BooksPlease 3/18/10, 7:34 AM  

I'd love to see this.

Bonnie,  3/18/10, 7:35 AM  

I don't think that I've seen this movie. It looks like one that I'd enjoy! I just posted my Weekend Cooking post on Book Club Favorites

Dancingkittyhaw 3/18/10, 7:36 AM  

I loved this movie (Babette's Feast) years ago. I am glad to see you recommend it. I think younger ones should be directed to few good oldies. Who knew 1986 would indicate an oldie.

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