Protagonist, or hinted at in the title or in the story, food has often been mentioned in film as part of our daily lives, as a metaphor or much more: from the Italian classics to world cinema, here is Swide’s top 10 movies that include food.
Babette’s Feast (1987)
Directed by Gabriel Axel, it’s a story of two adult sisters in 19th century Denmark who live in an remote town with their father, which turns into a feast for the eyes and the palate thanks to a French woman refugee who asks for shelter and, some years later, after their father dies, ends up preparing a huge meal for the entire community to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Duck in Orange Sauce (1975)
Directed by Luciano Salce, it’s an Italian classic which features two of the best actors ever: Monica Vitti, and Ugo Tognazzi. A typical Italian comedy, the title refers to the dish that the husband in a married swinging couple (Monica Vitti and Ugo Tognazzi) prepares during a complicated weekend with respective lovers (it’s the same dish they had on their honeymoon)…
The Big Feast (1973)
Marco Ferreri directs the legendary actors Marcello Mastroianni and Philippe Noiret, the film is about 4 successful middle-aged men who hire some prostitutes and go to a villa in the countryside. There, they engage in group sex and resolve to eat themselves to death.
Director Vittorio De Sica’s tribute to Naples is a collection of 6 stories set in the Mediterranean city. Among them, food plays a part in the episode that sees Sofia Loren play an unreliable pizza seller who loses her husband's ring.
Nine ½ Weeks (1986)
Directed by Adrian Lyne, the movie probably doesn’t need an introduction because everyone remembers the sexy Kim Basinger and hottie Mickey Rourke. An art gallery assistant gets involved in an affair with a man. She knows almost nothing about his life, they just play sex games in which food is involved. The relationship then begins to get complicated…
An American in Rome (1954)
By Steno, the movie feature an unforgettable Alberto Sordi who plays Nando Moriconi, a young Italian living in the Rome of the early '50s who is in love with the United States and leads a way of life that is a parody of the American one’s. The scene in which he sits in front of a gigantic plate of Spaghetti on the verge of “attacking” it…
Like water for chocolate (1992)
Directed by Alfonso Arau in the Spanish language it set in a long-forgotten Mexico. Tita and Pedro fall in love, but are forbidden to marry because Mama Elena sees Tita's role as her caretaker for life. The tradition in the family is that no youngest daughter marries and her daughter is not going to be the first to break it. Tita's heart breaks when her mother instead offers to Pedro her other daughter, and he accepts. Tita is able to express emotion only when she cooks. But now that they live in the same house, Mama Elena cannot forbid their love as she did their marriage…
Last tango in Paris (1972)
Bernardo Bertolucci directs Marlon Brando in this movie which has become legendary for its “alternative use for butter”…
The story sees a young Parisian woman beginning a sordid affair with a middle-aged American businessman who lays out ground rules that their clandestine relationship will be based only on sex.
By Lasse Hallström, with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, sees a woman chocolate-maker arriving in a tranquil town of France to open her shop. She will scandalise everyone making friendship with the gypsy community and falling in love with one of them, the handsome Johnny Depp.
The wedding banquet (1993)
Ang Lee’s Taiwanese film follows a gay landlord and a female tenant who agree to a marriage of convenience because of the insistence of his parents, but his parents arrive to visit – and to organise a lush banquet - and things get out of hand.
Written by: Elisa della Barba