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 Anthropology in the News

ANTH 3888 calendar:  s2016  f2016

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Anthropology of Food

Friday, 27 May 2016, 21:19 (09:19 PM) CDT, day 148 of 2016
BBC Food
Wikipedia: Food | Food and drink | Food culture | Food history | Food Portal |
Wikipedia Categories: Food and Drink | History of Food and Drink | Historical Foods |
World Clock Cf.: Food Production and Animal Slaughter

Food and Drug Administration Wire
OWL logo, Online Writing Lab, Purdue University.
Sicilian ice-cream in a bread bun. A good solution to a local problem: the Mediterranean heat quickly melts the ice-cream, which is absorbed by the bread.
"Palermo, Sicily
A Fistful of Rice.
A Fistfull of Rice
Claire Kathleen Roufs eating first food at 5 months.
Claire Kathleen Roufs
Eating rat.
"Eating Rat At
The New Year
National Geographic
Desert People, boy eating "grub worm"
Desert People

to top of page / A/Z index   to top of page / A-Z index

Food Films / Videos

(see below for annotated filmography)
(see below for food films [print] bibliography)

Food Films Extra Credit Review Paper Information

Reviewing Films

in-class film/video schedule
 on-line film/video schedule

Food Films / Videos Available On-line

Film Literature Index
-- Indiana University
on-line films

Note: Films available from the UMD library are indicated with (. . . DVD ___ and/or VC ___)


Food Films Bibliography
(see below for annotated filmography)

  • "The Best Food Film Not About Food " -- David Berris, FoodAnthropology (09 March 2016)

  • Boswell, Parley Ann. 190. "Hungry in the Land of Plenty: Food in Hollywood Films." In: Beyond the stars: The Material World in American Popular Film, edited by Paul Loukides and Linda K. Fuller. pp: 7-23. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press.

  • Bower, Anne L. (Ed.). 2004. Reel Food: Essays on Food and Film. NY: Routledge.

  • Boyer, Jay. 1990. "Cry Food: The Use of Food as a Comic Motif in the Films of Charlie Chaplin." In: Beyond the stars: The Material World in American Popular Film, edited by Paul Loukides and Linda K. Fuller. pp: 24-37. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press.

  • Ferry, Jane. 2003. Food in Film: A Culinary Performance of Communication (Studies in American Popular History and Culture). NY: Routledge.

  • Food and Eating in the Movies: A Bibliography of Books and Articles in the UC Berkeley Libraries

  • video: Food Design -- Directed by Martin Hablesreiter and Sonja Stummerer (Food Design takes a sneak peek into the secret laboratories of a major food manufacturer, where designers and scientists are developing your favorite mouthful of tomorrow) [contains advertising]

  • Food on Film -- Gastronomica

  • Westfahl, Gary, and George Slusser, and Eric S. Rabkin, Eds. 1996. Foods of the Gods: Eating and the Eaten in Fantasy and Science Fiction. Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press.

  • Keller, James R. 2006. Food, Film and Culture: A Genre Study. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

  • Nestle, Marion. Sustainable food films for the holidays (2010.11.19)

  • O'sullivan, Feargus. 2007. Pulp Kitchen: Recipes for the Good, the Bad & the Hungry. London: Pan Macmillan Boxtree.

  • Poole, Gaye. 1999. Reel Meals, Set Meals: Food in Film and Theatre. Sydney: Currency.

  • Stromgren, Dick. 1990. "'Now to the Banquet We Press': Hitchcook's Gourmet and Gourmand Offerings." In: Beyond the Stars: The Material World in American Popular Film, edited by Paul Loukides and Linda K. Fuller. pp: 38-50. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press.

  • Thorsten Morimoto, Marie. 1994. "A Woman's Place in the Kitchen of Knowledge: Premodern and Postmodern Representations of Food (for Thought) in Japanese Film." In: Gender and Culture in Literature and Film East and West: Issues of Perception and Interpretation: Selected Conference Papers, edited by Nitaya Masavisut, George Simson, Larry E. Smith. pp: 260-72.

  • Zimmerman, Steve. 2009. Food in the Movies, 2nd Ed. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Food Films

(see above for food films [print] bibliography)

NOTE: Films scheduled for the Anth of Food class are listed separately

  Anth 3888 On-line Film Schedule
  Anth 3888 f2f Film Schedule

choose from those listed below for the Film Review Extra Credit Option

Ordered for Preview:

Nothing Like Chocolate
distributor: http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/nlc.html
film homepage: http://nothinglikechocolate.com/


In Organic We Trust (2012)
DVD Release Date: June 11, 2013
UM DULUTH Martin Library DVD (S605.5 .I56 2012)


After Winter, Spring

After Winter, Spring

US Release Date: 2015     Copyright Date: 2013
DVD ISBN: 1-94154-527-0
DVD ISBN: 1-94154-527-0
UM DULUTH Martin Library DVD (DC33.L68 A38 2013)
"An intimate portrait of an ancestral way of life under threat in a world increasingly dominated by large-scale industrial agriculture. .. . In an era of rapid growth of mega-farms, the encroachment of suburbia and new European Union rules and reductions of agricultural subsidies, the farmers in the Périgord region of southwest France are forced to confront challenges that threaten the very existence of their small farms. . . ."


  Gut Reaction

Gut Reaction -- Top Documentary Films (57 min., 2014)

Watch Now

"The medical community has long professed the numerous risk factors associated with an unhealthy diet. The foods we eat can play a primary role in determining our vulnerability towards many potentially life-threatening conditions including obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes."

"But current nutritional research studies are examining the links between diet and chronic disease from a promising new perspective: the interactions between the bacteria in food and our gut."

"According to the revealing insights presented in the new documentary Gut Reaction, the key to disease prevention may lie in how we chose to nourish the bacteria that resides in our intestines. For many years, science regarded bacteria in much the same way as the public at large. Bacteria were viewed as nasty and threatening parasitic life forms that must be avoided and protected against at all costs. Just a few short years ago, however, modern technologies allowed us a peek into the inner workings of the microbial world like never before."

"Through extensive study which remains ongoing, we've come to understand the many benefits associated with the bacteria which exists within our bodies. This "good" bacteria regulates our immune system and determines our defenses against potentially harmful bacteria from the outside world. In so doing, it also maintains a crucial role in the areas of mental and physical wellness."

"Gut Reaction shows us how nature works to acclimate us to the presence of beneficial bacteria from the very beginning stages of life. Through the process of vaginal childbirth, the newborn is awash in the healthy bacteria of their mother, and this creates a sanctuary from which they can build defenses against harmful environmental elements. Researchers now believe that the alarming rise in cesarean births has denied many infants of this security, and increased incidents of asthma, allergies and other chronic conditions have been the result. This dynamic carries on into adulthood and is often reflected by the foreign and unhealthy bacteria that dwell in many of the foods we eat."

"XCould our bacteria be the ultimate barometer for measuring our risks for the world's most catastrophic diseases? Gut Reaction captures the promises of this exciting new realm of nutritional research, and suggests a fresh approach to the ailments that limit our longevity as a species." -- Top Documentary Films

The Foods that Make Billions
-- Top Documentary Films (177 min., 2010)

The Foods that Make Billions -- BBC Two

The Foods That Make Billions 1 - "Liquid Gold" [bottled water industry] (2010)

YouTube The Foods That Make Billions 2 - "The Age of Plenty" [cereals] (2010) (alternate link) (alternate link)

The Foods That Make Billions 3 -- "Pots of Gold" [yoghurt] YouTube

OU on the BBC: The Foods That Make Billions [including episode guides and discussions and extras] -- Open University (flyer)

"The Foods that Make Billions is a series looking at how big business feeds us. Starting with a look at the bottled water industry, moving through cereals and finally looking at yoghurt, these three episodes explore the history of how these simple commodities have become staple products, part of the global diet."

"Liquid Gold looks at the competitive dynamics between two of the global leaders in the bottled water marketplace: Nestle and Danone. Episode one unpacks the brand philosophy and big business strategy behind these big hitters in the industry. But why would you buy something that you could get for free from the tap? This documentary looks at the marketing and advertising strategies used by big business to create demand that results in the distribution of millions of bottles of water around the world."

"Episode two tells the story of a modern marketing miracle: the story of the breakfast cereal. The Age of Plenty investigates the processing, marketing and advertising behind a breakfast that has singularly impacted the way we live. Breakfast cereal marks the birth of modern day "convenience food", invented to make cheap and lifeless corn bits edible and easy to sell, and promoted through reverse psychology, cereal has transformed the way we eat and consequently the way we live. This series tracks the multi-billion dollar breakfast cereal industry, explaining the impact of television advertising on the promotion and sales of breakfast cereals, which endures to this day."

"Over the past few decades, yoghurt has hit a stellar trajectory from funny dessert to scientific super food. Marketed as a functional food, yoghurt is the perfect product to satisfy the market's increasing appetite for high nutrition, super healthy foods. Pots of Gold, the final episode in the series, looks at how yoghurt entered the market in the form of a Swiss yoghurt brand which opened up a world of taste to British consumers and etched a space in the market where previously none had existed. "Ski" shows how, by simply adding sugar and fruit, a simple commodity becomes a high-priced necessity. By taking a basic commodity like milk, and manipulating it through processing, packaging and marketing, big business has managed to increase the profit margins of simple products by monumental proportions, resulting in multi-billion dollar industry."

"These are the foods that make billions. By employing clever tactics and smart marketing, big business seduces the appetite of the consumer and entices people to spend and spend and spend. This is how global food and beverage empires are built." -- Top Documentary Films

Picture from We Feed the World.

video: Margarine Wars

Life After Food.
Life After Food
(2013, 24 minutes)

"Humanity is going to continue to grow. Everybody eats and everyone needs energy and these constraints are only going to get tighter and we're going to have to improve our understanding of the body and nutrition and design something new."

"Some people are calling Soylent the "future food." We're going to meet the man who invented it and find out how it might change the way we eat. And Brian, the host of this little documentary, is going to live on Soylent alone for thirty days straight."

"Soylent is a total food replacement and Brian will be living on a mixture alone just like the man who invented it. Soylent, canola oil, fish oil capsules, and water - that's Brian's entire diet for the next month and he's a little apprehensive. He can't imagine eating that for a day let alone for one month straight."

"We're going to find out where Rob Rhinehart's team makes the food of the future. Rob doesn't think we're going to feed an exploding population with organic farms. We're going to need to look to the future, we are going to need to improve and optimize things and a lot of that comes from science and technology. So this idea is going to solve a lot of problems in food that we have."

"Not just hunger but also the environmental impact and the poorly balanced food which leads to obesity, etc. Rob came up with this chemical cocktail called Soylent and to prove it worked he lived off of it for 30 days. He documented the experience on his blog and his quest to replace food was noticed by the media."

"Soon Soylent was a bonafide online sensation. So naturally he launched a crowdfunding campaign to take his project to the next level. He raised $800,000 in less than a month and with those funds he founded a company comprised of bright young men in their twenties. A close friend of the group says they were known as the "Startup Bros" even before Soylent. And indeed this is Rob's third and most successful venture. They're clearly influenced by the culture of the Silicon Valley but instead of designing Apps they're working with food."

Life After Food -- [from Top Documentary Films]


The Truth About Food

The Truth About Food
(2013, 300 minutes)

"Every day we are bombarded with messages about food. What to eat and what not to eat, but what can science tell us? To test the effects of food in our bodies BBC commissioned top scientists from around the world."

"How to be healthy. News presenter Fiona Bruce is going to find out how a simple change in diet can make all the difference to what keeps you healthy. To find out the truth about food Fiona is leaving the newsroom to put herself at the hearth of the 4 innovative food trials and investigate how she can improve her own well-being."

"How to be sexy. Comedian Vic Reeves with the help of his wife Nancy finds out which foods can improve your sex life and boost your fertility. Nancy has agreed to let Vic to take part in a series of groundbreaking food trials to discover the power of food to turn you on or put you off."

"How to feed your kids. Jan Ravens will get tips from four investigations which will transform what you think you know about kids and food. Jan is going to put her own family at the hearth of a quest to discover how to transform kids from veggie-haters into health-food-commissars."

"How to be slim. DJ and party girl, Andrea Oliver, gets top dieting tips from the latest science. What she learns will transform what you think you know about losing weight. She's going to revolutionize her diet based on top tips gleaned from the scientific research."

"How to stay young and beautiful. Liza Tarbuck is going to find out how a few simple changes in diet could help slowdown the aging process. The way Liza ages will be on display for all to see making her more aware of her looks."

"How to be the best. Colin Jackson is going to find out what to eat to be the best in whatever job you do. Colin is convinced that one of the factors in his wining recipe was diet."

The Truth About Food -- [from Top Documentary Films]


The Food Speculator
A Place at the Table

A Place at the Table

(UM Duluth Library Multimedia - DVD HD9005 .P53 2013)

"Hunger is not just a third world problem. Forty-nine million people in the U.S.—one in four children—don't know where their next meal is coming from. Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush examine this issue through the lens of three people struggling with food insecurity: Barbie, a single mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her kids; Rosie, a fifth-grader who often has to depend on friends and neighbors to feed her and has trouble concentrating in school; and Tremonica, a second-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the largely empty calories her hardworking mother can afford. Includes insights from sociologist Janet Poppendieck, author Raj Patel and nutrition policy leader Marion Nestle; and activists such as Witness to Hunger's Mariana Chilton, Top Chef's Tom Colicchio and Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges. Ultimately, A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all, if the American public decides—as they have in the past—that making healthy food available and affordable is in the best interest of us all."

Pringle, Peter (Ed.). A Place at the Table:The Crisis of 49 Million Hungry Americans and How to Solve It. NY: Public Affairs, 2013.

Catsoulis, Jannette. "Listening to America’s Growling Bellies‘A Place at the Table,’ on Hunger in America." The New Yord Times Movie Review (28 February 2013).



Genetic Roulette

(85 min., 2012)

Director: Jeffrey M. Smith



(Ordered from the UMD Library 90 min., 2012)

Director: Kristin Canty

Can I Eat That? NovaScience Video
Can I Eat That?

NOVA scienceNOW
(aired 31 October 2012)

NOVA Film HomePage

"What are the secrets behind your favorite foods? Why are some treats, like chocolate-chip cookies, delectable, while others, like cookies made with mealworms, disgusting? You might think you understand what makes something sweet, salty, or bitter, but David Pogue gets a taste of a much more complicated truth, as he ventures into labs and kitchens where everything from apple pie to Thanksgiving turkey to juicy grasshoppers is diced, sliced, dissected, and put under the microscope. If scientists can uncover exactly what's behind the mouth-watering flavors and textures we take for granted every day, could they help us enjoy our food more—without packing on the pounds?" -- NOVA

 Way Beyond Weight

Way Beyond Weight

(Muito Além do Peso)

-- Maria Farinha Films (84 min., 2012.09.01)

[video documentary: Brazil]

alternate links:
<http://documentaryaddict.com/Way+Beyond+Weight-9914-documentary.html> <http://www.thegreatplanet.com/way-beyond-weight/>

American Meat Film

Joel Salatin
American Meat

(85 min., 2011, UM Duluth Library Multimedia BJ52.5 .A44 2011 DVD)
(UM Duluth Library Multimedia Guide BJ52.5 .A44 2011 DVD)

"This documentary chronicles the grassroots revolution in sustainable farming. 'Directed by New York City filmmaker Graham Meriwether, the movie explains how America arrived at its current industrial meat system, and shows you the feedlots and confinement houses, not through hidden cameras but through the eyes of the farmers who live and work there. The film examines the debate over whether small-scale sustainable farming can ever produce enough food to feed America. The film also features both farmers who run confinement operations and raise their animals outside without the use of antibiotics. Meriwether and his team spent four years traveling across the country interviewing farmers, taking care to provide a balanced look at the economic and environmental issues facing them today.'" -- Website

American Meat HomePage

Waste = Food
Waste = Food
(50 min., 2010)
[from Top Documentary Films]

"Man is the only creature that produces landfills. Natural resources are being depleted on a rapid scale while production and consumption are rising in na­tions like China and India. The waste production world wide is enormous and if we do not do anything we will soon have turned all our resources into one big messy landfill."

"But there is hope. The German chemist, Michael Braungart, and the American designer-architect William McDonough are fundamentally changing the way we produce and build. If waste would become food for the biosphere or the technosphere (all the technical products we make), produc­tion and consumption could become beneficial for the planet."

"A design and production concept that they call Cradle to Cradle. A concept that is seen as the next industrial revolution. Design every product in such a way that at the end of its lifecycle the component materials become a new resource. Design buildings in such a way that they produce energy and become a friend to the environment."

"Large companies like Ford and Nike are working with McDonough and Braun­gart to change their production facilities and their products. They realize that economically seen waste is destruction of capital. You make something with no value. Based on their ideas the Chinese government is working towards a circular economy where Waste = Food. An amazing story that will definitely change your way of thinking about production and consumption."

Waste = Food -- [from Top Documentary Films]


Dive!: Living off America's Waste

Dive!: Living off America's Waste

(55 min., 2011, DVD)

"Could you survive by eating food retrieved from dumpsters? Not "would" you...but "could" you? You may find a surprising answer to that query after viewing this unusual documentary, which follows filmmaker Jeremy Seifert and a group of his friends as they peruse Los Angeles dumpsters in search of disposed-of edibles, only to find a surprising amount of perfectly good eats just waiting in the city's back alleyways."




(77 min., 2011, DVD)

"Makes the case for a plant-based diet which is good for our bodies, good for the environment and mitigates climate change"

Planeat HomePage

"Where have we gone wrong? Why has the death rate from heart disease and cancer exploded in recent times? Why are the ice caps melting, the oceans dying and the forests being cut down as we produce the food necessary to support our burgeoning populations?"

"Against a backdrop of colorful and delicious food grown by organic farmers and prepared in the kitchens of world-famous chefs, PLANEAT for the first time brings together the ground-breaking studies of three prominent scientists who have made it their life's work to answer these questions. Dr. T. Colin Campbell in China by exploring the link between diet and disease, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's use of nutrition to treat chronically ill heart disease patients, and Professor Gidon Eshel's investigations into how our food choices contribute to global warming, wasteful land use and lifeless oceans."

"PLANEAT inspires you to make the right food choices: choices that can dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, protect our environment and make our planet sustainable while celebrating the joys of food."

""Planeat is a beautifully filmed discussion of the impact of a high-meat diet on our environment, our climate, and our health. It would be a valuable springboard for discussion in any course on the ethics of what we eat."

Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University, Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, University of Melbourne, thor, Animal Liberation


Picture from Forks Over Knives.

Forks Over Knives
(90 min., 2011, DVD)

Forks Over Knives HomePage

From Amazon.com:
Editorial Reviews

What has happened to us? Despite the most advanced medical technology in the world, we are sicker than ever by nearly every measure.

Two out of every three of us are overweight. Cases of diabetes are exploding, especially amongst our younger population. About half of us are taking at least one prescription drug. Major medical operations have become routine, helping to drive health care costs to astronomical levels. Heart disease, cancer and stroke are the country's three leading causes of death, even though billions are spent each year to "battle" these very conditions. Millions suffer from a host of other degenerative diseases.

Could it be there's a single solution to all of these problems? A solution so comprehensive but so utterly straightforward, that it's mind-boggling that more of us haven t taken it seriously?

FORKS OVER KNIVES examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the so-called "diseases of affluence" that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.

Dr. Campbell, a nutritional scientist at Cornell University, was concerned in the late 1960's with producing "high quality" animal protein to bring to the poor and malnourished areas of the third world. While in the Philippines, he made a life-changing discovery: the country's wealthier children, who were consuming relatively high amounts of animal-based foods, were much more likely to get liver cancer. Dr. Esselstyn, a top surgeon and head of the Breast Cancer Task Force at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, found that many of the diseases he routinely treated were virtually unknown in parts of the world where animal-based foods were rarely consumed.

These discoveries inspired Campbell and Esselstyn, who didn't know each other yet, to conduct several groundbreaking studies. One of them took place in China and is still among the most comprehensive health-related investigations ever undertaken. Their research led them to a startling conclusion: degenerative diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even several forms of cancer, could almost always be prevented - and in many cases reversed - by adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet. Despite the profound implications of their findings, their work has remained relatively unknown to the public.

The filmmakers travel with Drs. Campbell and Esselstyn on their separate but similar paths, from their childhood farms where they both produced "nature's perfect food"; to China and Cleveland, where they explored ideas that challenged the established thinking and shook their own core beliefs.

The idea of food as medicine is put to the test. Throughout the film, cameras follow "reality patients" who have chronic conditions from heart disease to diabetes. Doctors teach these patients how to adopt a whole foods plant-based diet as the primary approach to treat their ailments - while the challenges and triumphs of their journeys are revealed.

FORKS OVER KNIVES utilizes state of the art 3-D graphics and rare archival footage. The film features leading experts on health, examines the question "why we don't know", and tackles the issue of diet and disease in a way that will have people talking for years.

FORKS OVER KNIVES was filmed all over the United States, and in Canada and China.


Picture from We Feed the World.

Ingredients: The Local Food Movement Takes Root

(67 min., 2011, S441 .I54 2009 DVD)

Ingredients HomePage

"At the focal point of this movement, and of this film, are the farmers and chefs who are creating a truly sustainable food system. Their collaborative work has resulted in great tasting food and an explosion of consumer awareness about the benefits of eating local."

"Attention being paid to the local food movement comes at a time when the failings of our current industrialized food system are becoming all too clear. For the first time in history, our children’s generation is expected to have a shorter lifespan than our own. The quality, taste and nutritional value of the food we eat has dropped sharply over the last fifty years. Shipped from ever-greater distances, we have literally lost sight of where our food comes from and in the process we've lost a vital connection to our local community and to our health."

"A feature-length documentary, INGREDIENTS illustrates how people around the country are working to revitalize that connection. Narrated by Bebe Neuwirth, the film takes us across the U.S. from the diversified farms of the Hudson River and Willamette Valleys to the urban food deserts of Harlem and to the kitchens of celebrated chefs Alice Waters, Peter Hoffman and Greg Higgins. INGREDIENTS is a journey that reveals the people behind the movement to bring good food back to the table and health back to our communities."

"Inspiring and rich, INGREDIENTS unearths the roots of the local food movement and digs into the stories of the chefs, farmers and activists transforming our broken food system. This upbeat, beautifully-photographed film introduces us to the verdant farms and pioneering restaurants where good food is produced and served. From innovative farm-to-table programs in Harlem to picturesque sheep farms in Oregon's Willamette Valley, INGREDIENTS shows the heart of an alternative food system healthy, sustainable and tasty."

"Through interviews with world-class chefs such as Alice Waters and Greg Higgins and sustainability-minded farmers in Oregon, New York and Ohio, INGREDIENTS weaves an uplifting tale that is equal parts earthy rebellion and mouth-watering homage."

"Narrated by Bebe Neuwirth and directed by Robert Bates, INGREDIENTS is a fun, open-minded film that will satiate both veteran slow-food fans and the uninitiated alike." -- Amazon.com

Bonus Features: Extended Interview with Alice Waters; Slow Food vs. Fast Food; 4 Seasonal Stories

Picture from We Feed the World.
Theatrical release poster -- Wikipedia

Food, Inc.

(93 min., 2009, DVD 2123)

"For most Americans, the ideal meal is fast, cheap, and tasty. Food, Inc. examines the costs of putting value and convenience over nutrition and environmental impact. Director Robert Kenner explores the subject from all angles, talking to authors, advocates, farmers, and CEOs, like co-producer Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma), Gary Hirschberg (Stonyfield Farms), and Barbara Kowalcyk, who's been lobbying for more rigorous standards since E. coli claimed the life of her two-year-old son. The filmmaker takes his camera into slaughterhouses and factory farms where chickens grow too fast to walk properly, cows eat feed pumped with toxic chemicals, and illegal immigrants risk life and limb to bring these products to market at an affordable cost. If eco-docs tends to preach to the converted, Kenner presents his findings in such an engaging fashion that Food, Inc. may well reach the very viewers who could benefit from it the most: harried workers who don't have the time or income to read every book and eat non-genetically modified produce every day. Though he covers some of the same ground as Super-Size Me and King Korn, Food Inc. presents a broader picture of the problem, and if Kenner takes an understandably tough stance on particular politicians and corporations, he's just as quick to praise those who are trying to be responsible--even Wal-Mart, which now carries organic products. That development may have more to do with economics than empathy, but the consumer still benefits, and every little bit counts." -- Kathleen C. Fennessy

Food, Inc. [from Top Documentary Films]

FRESH poster.

(90 min., DVD tba, 2009)"

"FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.

Among several main characters, FRESH features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, the recipient of MacArthur’s 2008 Genius Award; sustainable farmer and entrepreneur, Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan’s book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma; and supermarket owner, David Ball, challenging our Wal-Mart dominated economy."

Julia & Julia.

Julie & Julia

(123 min., 2009)

"Julie & Julia is a film that should be relished with gusto--accompanied by the freshest and best ingredients, pounds of butter, and bottles of the very best wine. It lovingly celebrates the life of one of American food's most influential and beloved figureheads: Julia Child--played here with zest, humor, and a sweet, subtle respect by Meryl Streep, whose performance is spectacular."

"Julie & Julia is based on the book by Julie Powell, a frustrated New York bureaucrat who wants to be a writer. 'But you're not a writer until someone publishes you,' she moans. So she gives herself a challenge: to cook her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year, and to blog about it. As Powell (played with chirpy determination by Amy Adams), begins to find her groove as a cook, and her voice as a writer, the project takes on a life of its own--and in the end it does provide the struggling young woman with her life's purpose, to her very pleasant surprise. But mostly, Julie & Julia is a valentine to Child, to Child's amazing love affair with her dashing husband, Paul (Stanley Tucci, as divine as any soufflé in the film), and to her outlook on embracing life, and ordering seconds. Streep throws herself into the Child role with real affection for her character, and while certain of Child's idiosyncrasies--including her warbly voice and unflappable haphazardness in the kitchen--are retained, it's Child's character and vision which form Streep's portrayal, and which make the film so involving and rewarding."

"Nora Ephron directs with deftness and a light touch, though she seems at times to be encouraging some of Meg Ryan's onscreen tics in Adams (the self-conscious head tilt, for one). But mostly she simply allows Streep to channel Child and her love of food, her husband, and 1950s Paris. And that is a recipe for something truly sublime." -- A.T. Hurley

The Cove.

Oscar (thumbnail).


(90 min., 2009, DVD 2122)


Best Documentary Feature 2010

"Maybe you've seen it all, and maybe you're already steeped in outraged, activist documentaries. But you haven't seen anything quite like The Cove, unless you can visualize a disturbing combination of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, Free Willy, and the killing of Bambi's mother. The Cove is directed by the experienced National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos, who sets about to uncover a shocking (but regular) ritual on the Japanese coast: the herding and slaughter of thousands of bottlenose dolphins in the town of Taiji. A few dolphins are saved during this process, and sold off to aquariums so they can perform in water shows. The rest are crowded together and--away from prying eyes--stabbed to death, their meat sold as food. (Interviewing Japanese people on the street, they apparently have no idea that the 'whale meat' on sale in stores is actually mercury-saturated bottlenose dolphin.) It's not that this mass killing is secret, exactly, but the fishermen of Taiji have done a proactive job of keeping cameras and other observers from getting a good look. Psihoyos wants to change all that, and he assembles a swashbuckling squad of scientists, filmmakers, and nerds (including movie F/X people who design fake rocks for hidden video cameras) to extra-legally smuggle recording equipment into the cove. The team's spiritual and emotional captain is Richard O'Barry, the man who helped popularize dolphins as cuddly animals as the trainer of TV's Flipper back in the 1960s--and who, horrified by the way dolphins have been used in public displays, has been an anti-captivity activist for decades. The footage that results is so shocking it should cause seismic reactions in viewers, and when O'Barry attends a meeting of the International Whaling Commission (portrayed by the film as ineffectual and/or bought off by Japanese interests) armed with video of the slaughter, he's like Rocky Balboa climbing into the ring for one more big fight. After what we've seen in the film at that point, it's unlikely many viewers won't be rooting him on." -- Robert Horton

The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World And What We Eat.

The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World And What We Eat

(83 min., 2009, UMDMD SH329.O94 E43 2010 DVD)

Clover, Charles. The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat. University of California Press, 2008.

Food Matters.
Food Matters

(80 min., 2009)

Directors: James Colquhoun, Laurentine ten Bosch

"Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food Hippocrates. That is the message from the founding father of modern medicine echoed in the controversial new documentary film Food Matters from Producer-Directors James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch. With nutritionally-depleted foods, chemical additives and our tendency to rely upon pharmaceutical drugs to treat what s wrong with our malnourished bodies, it s no wonder that modern society is getting sicker. Food Matters sets about uncovering the trillion dollar worldwide sickness industry and gives people some scientifically verifiable solutions for curing disease naturally. In what promises to be the most contentious idea put forward, the filmmakers have interviewed several world leaders in nutrition and natural healing who claim that not only are we harming our bodies with improper nutrition, but that the right kind of foods, supplements and detoxification can be used to treat chronic illnesses as fatal as terminally diagnosed cancer. The focus of the film is in helping us rethink the belief systems fed to us by our modern medical and health care establishments. The interviewees point out that not every problem requires costly, major medical attention and reveal many alternative therapies that can be more effective, more economical, less harmful and less invasive than conventional medical treatments."


Botany of Desire

Botany of Desire

(120 min., 2009)

PBS Watch On-Line

They are four of the most ordinary plants. We've always had this idea that we are in charge, but what if, in fact, they have been modeling us? We don't give enough recognition to plants. They have been laboring on us, and they've been utilizing us for their own goals. There are four plants that have walked the road to accomplishment by fulfilling human ambitions. The tulip, by satisfying our longing for a certain kind of attractiveness, has gotten us to take it from its basis in Central Asia and distribute it around the world.

Marijuana, by satisfying our ambition to change awareness, has gotten us to risk our lives and freedom, in order to produce more of it. The potato, by fulfilling our desire for mastery, the control over surrounding, so that we can nourish ourselves has gotten itself out of South America and extended its range far beyond where it was long time ago. And the apple, by satisfying our appetite for sweetness, begins in the woods of Kazakhstan and is now the worldwide fruit. These are great champions in the game of domestication.

The bee believes it's getting the best of the deal with the blooming apple. It's getting in, it's taking the nectar and has no sense that it's picked up the pollen and is transferring it to another location. For the bee to assume that it's in charge of this friendship is really just a lack of success of bee's insight. We have the same failure of imagination. We are too working for the potatoes in some sense. We are planting them, we are giving them a habitat, and in the same time we think we're calling the shots.

Wouldn't it be appealing to look at our connection to domesticated plants from the plants' perspective? Of course, plants don't have awareness or goals, but by using our consciousness we can put ourselves in their roots to see things from their angle. When we do that, nature unexpectedly looks very different. We become aware that we're in the nature's web, not outside of it. These plants are reflectors in which we can see ourselves in a different way.

Watch now at Top Documentary Films


China Rises Documentary Series


See also

Ang, Audra. To the People, Food Is Heaven: Stories of Food and Life in a Changing China. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press, 2012.

To the People, Food is Heaven


Food is Heaven

written, produced & directed by Susan Teskey, Gert Anhalt

(54 min., UM Duluth Library Multimedia - DVD HC427.95 .C45 2008)

As scarcity and desolation stalks the land, an expert chef is looking for the greatest meal, a student is challenging his father to pursue his dreams and rebellious advocate battles the plants and their grime that is eating up the province. An ancient proverb says - "food is heaven", but in its blitz to abundance, is China consuming its capability to feed its own population? Of all the places in this empire, none is as active as a Cantonese kitchen.

Food insane Guangzhou is a growing city of 10 million people and 10,000 restaurants. Magician of the wok, Johnson Wong, assures his chefs stay on the forefront of the city's unusual cuisine.

This city is the place of China's legendary export: Cantonese food... although some of it might be hard to sell worldwide. Anything that flies in the air or walks on the land, as long as its behind is facing the sky, you can consume it. They attribute enormous attention to the freshness of food. Cantonese people adore to eat. They eat almost anything, and the closer it is to being alive, the better.

Goose web, fish lips, all sorts of bugs... Wong is kept engaged making up dishes for his wealthy and ambitious sponsors. He'll try anything. Like filling insects into bean sprouts... bees... bee pupae. If you don't consume them, they will literally fly away. And when he's not operating his restaurants, he's occupied with his weekly TV show. For Wong, food is amusement... exactly. TV series, radio shows, newspapers, columns, food conferences have made Wong high ranking celebrity cook.

Wong's food is all devoured up by the newly affluent Chinese, by those who have more food than they appreciate what to do with it. People are demanding new taste perceptions. They no longer see food as something to satisfy hunger. But on the other side of China, hunger is not old news.

Food is Heaven

As scarcity and desolation stalks the land, an expert chef is looking for the greatest meal, a student is challenging his father to pursue his dreams and rebellious advocate battles the plants and their grime that is eating up the province. An ancient proverb says - "food...

Watch now...



Food for the Ancestors

PBS video:

Food for the Ancestors

(60 min., 2006, UMDMD GT4995.A4 F66 2006 DVD)

"Presents Mexican customs relating to the care and remembrance of the dead as celebrated in the culturally rich state of Puebla. Focuses on folk arts related to the celebration, such as weaving, pottery, dance, and preparation of special foods."


Himalayan Herders.

Himalayan Herders
(75 min., 2002, DVD 1815)

a film by
John & Naomi Bishop

"Himalayan Herders has been part of our lives since 1971 when Naomi studied the socio-ecology of langur monkeys in the forests above Melemchi. We shot the film in 1986 and 1989 when the subsistence economy of herding and farming was competing with wage labor outside the village. The film pays particular attention to the material culture, knowledge, and skills of mountain pastoralists, while observing the changes that come from incorporation into a National Park, infusion of capital from international wage labor, and political changes in Nepal. Since completing the film in 1996, we have remained in contact and anticipate finishing a second film on Melemchi as it moves forward in time."

"Additional information about this temple village in the Yolmo Valley of Central Nepal can be found in the book, Himalayan Herders (ISBN 0-15-505172-5) by Naomi Bishop.The book and film are an excellent combination for teaching the anthropology, geography, and religion of this region."

"The DVD is programed so that the film can be shown in two or three parts. It is also easy to locate individual scenes with the aid of on-screen menus and a printable transcript. Topics such as herding, agriculture, religion, and culture change are available as individual segments, using menus provided. The DVD also includes an article and a short film about how the film was made, and an update film about what has happened since we finished shooting in 1993."

featured at

Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival (Taipei 2005)
Ethno Filmfest (Berlin 1999)
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival (Arkansas 1999)
Mostra International Film Festival (Rio de Janiro 1999)
18th Bilan du Film Ethnographique at the Musee de l'homme (Paris 1999)
12th Parnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival (Estonia 1998)
Beeld Voor Beeld Film Festival (Amsterdam 1998)
4th Göttingen Ethnographic Film Festival (Germany 1998)
Black Maria Film Festival (New Jersey 1998)
Film South Asia (Kathmandu 1997)
Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival (New York 1997)
Society of Visual Anthropology, Honorable Mention (1997)

Sundance Film Festival

Big Night.

Rating: pg-rating symbol

Babettes gæstebud

Babette's Feast

(103 min., 1987, DVD 641, VC 1762)

"With the mysterious arrival of Babette, a refugee from France’s civil war, life for two pious sisters and their tiny hamlet begins to change. Before long, Babette has convinced them to try something other than boiled codfish and ale bread--a gourmet French meal! Her feast scandalizes the elders, except for the visiting General. Just who is this strangely talented Babette, who has terrified this pious town with the prospect of losing their souls for enjoying too much earthly pleasure? Includes original theatrical trailer."

"On the desolate coast of Denmark, two elderly, religious women take in a young woman to be their housekeeper and cook, not knowing she is a superb French chef. When the chef, (who is never called upon to cook anything more complicated or mouth-watering than boiled codfish or soup), wins a large sum of money, she decides to spend it all creating a magnificent meal."

Babette's Feast -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Babette's Feast -- Wikipedia

Big Night.

Rating: pg-rating symbol

Big Night

(109 min., 1996)
Italian-American drama with comedic overtones

"Plot Synopsis: Primo and Secondo are two brothers who have emigrated from Italy to open an Italian restaurant in America. Primo is the irascible and gifted chef, brilliant in his culinary genius, but determined not to squander his talent on making the routine dishes that customers expect. Secondo is the smooth front-man, trying to keep the restaurant financially afloat, despite few patrons other than a poor artist who pays with his paintings. The owner of the nearby Pascal's restaurant, enormously successful (despite its mediocre fare), offers a solution - he will call his friend, a big-time jazz musician, to play a special benefit at their restaurant. Primo begins to prepare his masterpiece, a feast of a lifetime, for the brothers' big night...."

Big Night -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Big Night -- Wikipedia

My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Rating: pg-rating symbol

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

(95 min., 2002)
Greek-American romantic comedy


"It's not surprising that My Big Fat Greek Wedding grew more popular over the course of its theatrical release (whereas most blockbusters open big and then drop precipitously)--not only does it have believable situations and engaging characters, but these characters (particularly our romantic heroine, Toula, played by writer and performer Nia Vardalos) look like actual human beings instead of plastic movie stars. The result is the very accessible tale of Greek-American Toula (whose family sees her as over the hill at 30), who falls for a WASPy guy named Ian (John Corbett) and then has to endure the outrage, doubt, and ultimate acceptance of her deeply ethnically centered family. The actors invest their wildly stereotypical portrayals with sincerity and compassion, giving the movie an honest warmth instead of Hollywood schmaltz. But My Big Fat Greek Wedding ultimately succeeds because of Vardalos; her intelligent, down-to-earth presence and charm carry the film. --Bret Fetzer"

Product Description

"Toula is 30. And unmarried. Which means as a nice Greek girl -- she's a failure. All her cousins did the right thing -- married Greek boys and made Greek babies. So everyone worries: what will become of Toula? Then one day she sees the ultimate unattainable guy and realizes the only way her life will get better is if he gets away from her big fat Greek family. Toula escapes from the family restaurant. She exchanges her seating hostess jacket for a college diploma convinces her aunt to give her a new job and trades in her coke-bottle glasses for contact lenses just in time for "him" to walk back into her life. Ian Miller is tall handsome but defnitely not Greek. Their courtship is an Olympian culture clash. Can Ian handle Toula her parents her aunts uncles cousins and several centuries of Greek heritage? Will Toula discover the love she's been missing right in the heart of her big fat family? One thing is for sure for better or worse for richer or poorer with Ian's proposal Toula is headed for her big fat Greek wedding.Running Time: 95 min.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: COMEDY UPC: 026359199325 Manufacturer No: 91993."

My Big Fat Greek Wedding -- Wikipedia

Big Night.

Rating: pg-rating symbol


Like Water for Chocolate

(105 min., 1993)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com essential video

"Expect to be very hungry (and perhaps amorous) after watching this contemporary classic in the small genre of food movies that includes Babette's Feast and Big Night. Director Alfonso Arau (A Walk in the Clouds), adapting a novel by his former wife, Laura Esquivel, tells the story of a young woman (Lumi Cavazos) who learns to suppress her passions under the eye of a stern mother, but channels them into her cooking. The result is a steady stream of cuisine so delicious as to be an almost erotic experience for those lucky enough to have a bite. The film's quotient of magic realism feels a little stock, but the story line is good and Arau's affinity for the sensuality of food (and of nature) is sublime. You might want to rush off to a good Mexican restaurant afterward, but that's a good thing. --Tom Keogh"

Product Description

"Based on the best-selling book -- now experience for yourself the erotic tale of forbidden love that seduced both critics and audiences nationwide! Tita and Pedro are passionately in love. But their love is forbidden by an ancient family tradition. To be near Tita, Pedro marries her sister. And Tita, as the family cook, expresses her passion for Pedro through preparing delectable dishes. Now, in Tita's kitchen, ordinary spices become a recipe for passion. Her creations bring on tears of longing, heated desire, or chronic pain -- while Tita and Pedro wait for the moment to fulfill their most hidden pleasures!"

Like Water for Chocolate -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Like Water for Chocolate -- Wikipedia


Rating: pg-rating symbol


(122 min., 2000, DVD 1074, VC 2224 [1990])


"With movies like Chocolat, it's always best to relax your intellectual faculties and absorb the abundant sensual pleasures, be it the heart-stopping smile of chocolatier Juliette Binoche as she greets a new customer, an intoxicating cup of spiced hot cocoa, or the soothing guitar of an Irish gypsy played by Johnny Depp. Adapted by Robert Nelson Jacobs from Joanne Harris's popular novel and lovingly directed by Lasse Hallström, the film covers familiar territory and deals in broad metaphors that even a child could comprehend, so it's no surprise that some critics panned it with killjoy fervor. Their objections miss the point. Familiarity can be comforting and so can easy metaphors when placed in a fable that's as warmly inviting as this one.

Driven by fate, Vianne (Binoche) drifts into a tranquil French village with her daughter Anouk (Victoire Thivisol, from Ponette) in the winter of 1959. Her newly opened chocolatier is a source of attraction and fear, since Vianne's ability to revive the villagers' passions threatens to disrupt their repressive traditions. The pious mayor (Alfred Molina) sees Vianne as the enemy, and his war against her peaks with the arrival of "river rats" led by Roux (Depp), whose attraction to Vianne is immediate and reciprocal. Splendid subplots involve a battered wife (Lena Olin), a village elder (Judi Dench), and her estranged daughter (Carrie-Anne Moss), and while the film's broader strokes may be regrettable (if not for Molina's rich performance, the mayor would be a caricature), its subtleties are often sublime. Chocolat reminds you of life's simple pleasures and invites you to enjoy them. --Jeff Shannon"

Product Description

"Nominated for 5 Academy Awards (R) including Best Picture, Best Actress (Juliette Binoche -- THE ENGLISH PATIENT), and Best Supporting Actress (Judi Dench -- SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE), CHOCOLAT is the beautiful and captivating comedy from the acclaimed director of THE CIDER HOUSE RULES! Nobody could have imagined the impact that the striking Vianne (Binoche) would make when she arrived in a tranquil, old-fashioned French town. In her very unusual chocolate shop, Vianne begins to create mouth-watering confections that almost magically inspire the straitlaced villagers to abandon themselves to temptation and happiness! But it is not until another stranger, the handsome Roux (Johnny Depp -- SLEEPY HOLLOW), arrives in town that Vianne is finally able to recognize her own desires!"

Chocolat -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Chocolat -- Wikipedia

Video, The Age of Innocence.

Rating: pg-rating symbol

The Age of Innocence

(139 min., 1993)

Amazon.com essential video

"Martin Scorsese does not sound like the logical choice to direct an adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel about manners and morals in New York society in the 1870s. But these are mean streets, too, and the psychological violence inflicted between characters is at least as damaging as the physical violence perpetrated by Scorsese's usual gangsters. At the center of the tale is Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), a somewhat diffident young man engaged to marry the very respectable May Welland (Winona Ryder). But Archer is distracted by May's cousin, the Countess Olenska (a radiant Michelle Pfeiffer), recently returned from Europe. As a married woman seeking a divorce, the countess is an embarrassment to all of New York society. But Archer is fascinated by her quick intelligence and worldly ways. Scorsese closely observes the tiny details of this world and this impossible situation; this is a movie in which the shift of someone's eyes can be as significant as the firing of a gun. The director's sense of color has never been keener, and his work with the actors is subtle. That's Joanne Woodward narrating, telling us only as much as we need to know--which is one reason why the climax comes as such a surprise.--Robert Horton"

From The New Yorker

"Martin Scorsese returns to form with this hectic adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel. Life in the New York of the eighteen-seventies may have been constrained, but it was never dull-not if Scorsese's camera is anything to go by, leaping from detail to detail like the gaze of an inquisitive gentleman. Everything looks right, from roast duck to waistcoats, but the movie has no ambitions to be a costume museum; it homes in on the passions that had to be veiled by good manners. As the film begins-a showy, overwhelming scene at the opera-we see Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis) about to announce a perfect match with the young May Welland (Winona Ryder). Such perfection is a prison, with no hope of escape, and the vigorous sadness of Day-Lewis tells the whole story; he will never rebel, but in his eyes you see him wishing he could. Less fruitful is the casting of Michelle Pfeiffer as May's older cousin, the mysterious Countess Olenska, with whom Archer falls hopelessly in love. With her silly blond curls, Pfeiffer looks more plaintive than the dark exotic of Wharton's imagination. For all that, Scorsese does convince you of their tragedy; the radiant coloring of the movie, fire against darkness, hints at a love that cannot burn for long, and that others will do their best to douse. This is a world run by the snob mob, the GoodFellas of Fifth Avenue, with all the control and none of the bloodshed; no wonder Scorsese feels at home. -Anthony Lane

Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker"

The Age of Innocence -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

The Age of Innocence -- Wikipedia

Eat Drink Man Woman.

Rating: pg-rating symbol


Eat Drink Man Woman

(124 min., 1994)

"The 2001 movie Tortilla Soup [below] is a re-make"

Amazon.com essential video

"This is not a movie to see on an empty stomach. Writer-director Ang Lee's 1994 Oscar nominee tells a family story about a chef and his three daughters through the meals the chef prepares and serves his family. This touching, dryly funny story of a family coping with personal lives and the way those lives intersect with the family relationships captures a shift in generations in Taipei. The father, a famous chef who has lost his taste buds, still cooks, though he draws no pleasure from eating. His daughters, meanwhile, deal with both the disappointments and surprises of daily living and the way their adult lives compare to the expectations the widowed father had for them. A subtle, amusing--and mouth-watering--comedy of impeccable manners. --Marshall Fine"

Product Description

"From celebrated director Ang Lee (The Ice Storm, Sense and Sensibility) comes a movieso visually stunning that it spans the 'beautiful balance of elementsmellow, harmonious and poignantly funny' (The Washington Post). This "charming study of love, family and tradition" (Leonard Maltin) 'tickles both mind and body' (Movie Reviews UK). Trouble is cooking forwidower and master chef Chu (Sihung Lung) who's about to discover that no matter how dazzling and delicious his culinary creations might be, they're no match for the libidinous whims of his three beautiful but rebellious daughters. A master in the kitchen, Chu is at a loss when it comes to the ingredients of being a father. Every Sunday, he whips up a delicacy of dishes for his ungrateful daughters, who are so self-consumed that they don't see his attempt at showing them lovegastronomically.So, as relationships sour and communications break down, Chu concocts a sure-fire recipe that will bring his family back together: He creates his own love affair to rival his daughters' affections!"

Eat Drink Man Woman -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Eat Drink Man Woman -- Wikipedia

Tortilla Soup.

Rating: pg-rating symbol

Tortilla Soup

(103 min., 2001)

"Re-make of the 1994 movie Eat Drink Man Woman [above]"

"The tantalizing genre of food films--stretching from Babette's Feast to Big Night and beyond--has a delicious new addition, Tortilla Soup. The food-preparation scenes will make your mouth water. Fortunately, the rest of the movie holds up as well. Hector Elizondo plays Martin, a widowed chef who is losing both his sense of taste and control over his three daughters: Leticia (the always superb Elizabeth Peña), a religious schoolteacher; Carmen (Jacqueline Obradors), a successful but unhappy businesswoman still carrying on an affair with her ex-boyfriend; and Maribel (Tamara Mello), a rebellious teen falling in love with a young Brazilian. When a pushy, nosy, but very sexy widow named Hortensia (Raquel Welch) comes along, the troublesome subcurrents in the family start to surface. Elizondo's understated gravitas anchors the story, while the three sisters have sex, eat amazing-looking food, and break plates in the kitchen. -- Bret Fetzer"

Tortilla Soup -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Tortilla Soup -- Wikipedia

Tortilla Soup.

Rating: pg-rating symbol


The Wedding Banquet

(108 min., 1993, VC4230)
Taiwan and the United States

Amazon.com essential video

"This 1993 international hit by Ang Lee is a funny and poignant story of a gay, Taiwanese-American man who goes to some lengths to fool his visiting family that he's actually straight. The results are far more complicated and entertaining than anyone could have guessed. The film seems all the more rich now since Lee has become a major Hollywood director: that same sensitivity and mild bemusement he brought to such stories of manners as Sense and Sensibility and The Ice Storm in recent years are in full bloom in this earlier work. --Tom Keogh"

Product Description

"Dig in! This funny and poignant comedy of manners (The New York Times) directed and co-written by Oscar® nominee* Ang Lee (Sense and Sensibility) is an absolutely delicious feast! Winner of the Berlin Film Festival's prestigious Golden Bear The Wedding Banquet is top-notch comedy (Leonard Maltin)! Successful New Yorker Wai Tung and his partner Simon are blissfully happy except for one thing: Wai Tung s conservative Taiwanese parents are determined he find a nice girl to marry! To please them and get a tax break he arranges a sham marriage to Wei Wei a sexy go-getter in need of a green card. But when his family swoops down for the extravaganza Wai Tung would do well to remember that at a traditional Chinese wedding banquet sexual repression takes the night off! System Requirements: Running Time 108 MinFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: COMEDY Rating: R UPC: 027616906915 Manufacturer No: M103195"

The Wedding Banquet -- Wikipedia

My Dinner with Andre

Rating: pg-rating symbol

My Dinner with André

(110 min., 1981, DVD 574, VC 3580)

"Two friends, an intense, experimental theater director and a down-to-earth actor, meet over dinner in a New York restaurant and discuss their innermost feelings."


"The sheer audacity of My Dinner with Andre drew throngs of curious filmgoers who made the film the most talked-about art-house hit of 1981. After all, who'd ever heard of a movie consisting of nearly two hours of nonstop dinner conversation? Ah... but this isn't just any conversation--it's the kind of mesmerizing, soul-searching, life-affirming exploration that we feel privileged to listen to, and with unobtrusive style, director Louis Malle invites us to eavesdrop to our hearts' and minds' content. The film was written by two New Yorkers at the dinner table, noted playwright-actor Wallace Shawn and well-known stage director Andre Gregory, who essentially play themselves. They taped their conversations for several weeks and Shawn gradually shaped them into a scripted conversation, but you'd never know it from watching the movie. The talk flows and flows until you're captivated by Gregory's stories of world travel and spiritual quests in Poland, India, Tibet, the Sahara desert... the tales of a soul-searcher who'd dropped out of the theater world to rediscover his zest for living. Shawn plays the skeptic, the voice of reason, his feet on the ground but his own mind willing to soar. The cumulative effect of this conversation is almost hypnotic, and certainly plays into our eternal appetite for storytelling. Both primal and sophisticated, witty and profound, My Dinner with Andre is a film that can be savored over time, offering new revelations with each viewing as the listener-viewer develops his or her own appreciation of life's great mysteries. --Jeff Shannon"

My Dinner with Andre -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

My Dinner with Andre -- Wikipedia


Rating: pg-rating symbol


(111 min., 2007)
computer-animated family film


"One key point: if you can get over the natural gag reflex of seeing hundreds of rodents swarming over a restaurant kitchen, you will be free to enjoy the glory of Ratatouille, a delectable Pixar hit. Our hero is Remy, a French rat (voiced by Patton Oswalt) with a cultivated palate, who rises from his humble beginnings to become head chef at a Paris restaurant. How this happens is the stuff of Pixar magic, that ineffable blend of headlong comedy, seamless technology, and wonder (in the latter department, this movie's views of nighttime Paris are on a par with French cinema at its most lyrical). Director Brad Bird (The Incredibles) doesn't quite keep all his spinning plates in the air, but the gags are great and the animation amazingly expressive--Remy's shrugs and nods are nimbler than many flesh-and-blood actors can manage. Refreshingly, the movie's characters aren't celebrity-reliant, with the most recognizable voice coming from Peter O'Toole's snide food critic. (This fellow provides the film's sole sour note--an oddly pointed slap at critics, those craven souls who have done nothing but rave about Pixar's movies over the years.) Brad Bird's style is more quick-hit and less resonant than the approach of Pixar honcho John Lasseter, but it's hard to complain about a movie that cooks up such bountiful pleasure. --Robert Horton"

Product Description

"From the creators of CARS and THE INCREDIBLES comes a break-through comedy with something for everyone. With delightful new characters experience Paris from an all-new perspective. It's 'terrific movie making' raves Leonard Maltin of ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT. In one of Paris' finest restaurants Remy a determined young rat dreams of becoming a renowned French chef. Torn between his family's wishes and his true calling Remy and his pal Linguini set in motion a hilarious chain of events that turns the City of Lights upside down. RATATOUILLE is a treat you'll want to enjoy again and again.System Requirements:Running Time: 111 Mins. Genre: CHILDREN/FAMILY Rating: G UPC: 786936727173 Manufacturer No: 05371400"

Ratatouille -- Wikipedia

No Reservations.

Rating: pg-rating symbol

No Reservations

(104 min., 2007)
family drama


"Achieving balance in one's life can be a difficult process, but master chef Kate Armstrong (Catherine Zeta-Jones) leads a regimented, very ordered existence running the kitchen of an exclusive restaurant and revels in the sense of power and control her career affords. When Kate's sister is unexpectedly killed in an automobile accident and her 9-year old niece Zoe (Abigail Breslin) comes to live with Kate, Kate's life is turned completely upside down and she is suddenly forced to split her focus between work and family. Enter a newly hired, fun-loving, opera-singing sous chef Nick Palmer (Aaron Eckhart), whom Kate perceives as a serious rival, and thus begins an impassioned struggle on Kate's part to rein in Nick's exuberance and maintain control over her kitchen staff. Even as they clash, Kate is inexplicably drawn toward Nick, eventually coming to the realization that Nick offers something that she needs both in her restaurant kitchen and her new life with Zoe. Based on the screenplay for Mostly Martha, Catherine Zeta-Jones carries the lead well in this romantic comedy and there's a nice chemistry between herself and Aaron Eckhart as well as a poignant performance by Abigail Breslin. And, of course, and the food looks simply scrumptious. --Tami Horiuchi"

Product Description

"A perfectionist chef addicted to her work struggles to adjust when her sister passes away leaving her with a little girl to raise and a new soup-chef threatens to take over her kitchen with his high-spirited and free-wheeling ways.Running Time: 104 min.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: COMEDY/ROMANTIC COMEDY UPC: 085391139072 Manufacturer No: 113907"

No Reservations -- Wikipedia


Rating:pg-rating symbol


(134 min., 2006)
Japanese comedy

"A dramedy about the relationship between an aspiring comic and his stubborn noodlemaker father."

"From the creators of the blockbuster Bayside Shakedown franchise comes a hilarious and heartwarming comedy about family, life, and that perfect bowl of Udon. After smashing records with Bayside Shakedown 2, producer Kameyama Chihiro and director Motohiro Katsuyuki continued their streak in 2005 with the popular Bayside spin-off film Negotiator Mashita Masayoshi starring Yusuke Santamaria. In 2006, the trio found a tasty new inspiration in Udon, an entire film dedicated to the magic of those chewy wheat noodles."

"Kosuke (Yusuke Santamaria), the son of an udon shop owner, is from a tiny rural town in Kagawa prefecture known for its udon noodles. Kosuke, however, is sick of his hometown, and even more sick of udon. He decides to try his luck in New York, only to return six years later in debt-ridden disappointment. Back at home, he meets flighty food column editor Kyoko (Konishi Manami, Orange Days), and the two happen upon a bowl of delicious udon noodles that will change their lives."

"An udon enthusiast and Kagawa native himself, Motohiro did extensive field research to find the best shops and recipes to showcase on screen and help spread the love for the noodle. The filmmakers even took their mission abroad by opening an udon stand at the 2006 Cannes film market. An earnest yet tongue-in-cheek celebration of life and food, Udon is a mouth-watering joy to watch. After all, home is where the udon is." -- YesAsia

"Udon Rising." Mitchell, Shane. Saveur, November 2007, No. 106, pp. 54-62.


Rating:pg-rating symbol

タンポポ or 蒲公英



(114 min., 1998, DVD 10)
Japanese comedy

"A satire about food and sex, delightfully parodying American westerns and Japanese samurai films, 'Tampopo' follows a young widow who runs a small noodle restaurant in Tokyo and Goro, a cowboy hat wearing truck driver, as they attempt to devise the perfect bowl of top ramen."

Tampopo -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Tampopo -- Wikipedia

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.

Rating: R-rating symbol

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

(124 min., 1990)
black comedy

Amazon.com essential video

"Few directors polarize audiences like Peter Greenaway, a filmmaker as influenced by Jacobean revenge tragedy and 17th century painting as by the French New Wave. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover is both adored and detested for its combination of sumptuous beauty and revolting decadence. A vile, gluttonous thief (Michael Gambon, The Singing Detective) spews hate and abuse at a restaurant run by a stoic French cook (Richard Bohringer, Diva), but under the thief's nose his wife (the ever-sensuous Helen Mirren, Prime Suspect) conducts an affair with a bookish lover (Alan Howard, Strapless). Clothing (by avant-garde designer Jean-Paul Gaultier) changes color as the characters move from room to room. Nudity, torture, rotting meat, and Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs) at his sleaziest all contribute the atmosphere of decay and excess. Not for everyone, but for some, essential. -- Bret Fetzer"

From The New Yorker

"A movie about a crude British thug, Albert Spica (Michael Gambon), whose favorite method of terrorizing people is ramming things down their throats. Albert himself eats only haute cuisine; he and his wife (Helen Mirren) dine every night at a posh restaurant called Le Hollandais. This is an Art Movie, refined and terribly formal; the director, Peter Greenaway (who also wrote the script), places this barbarian smack in the middle of 'painterly' compositions and encourages us to see him as a steaming hunk of offal desecrating the beauty of an artist's creation. He looks at Albert with the disdainful stare that the pukka sahib directs at a servant who has inconvenienced him. Greenaway, however, has a lot more in common with his loutish protagonist than he thinks. He obviously regards himself as an aesthetic virtuoso, but he's just a cultural omnivore. (He chews with his mouth open-we can identify almost every piece of art that has fed his imagination.) The only thing in this movie's tidy, hermetic universe that Greenaway is unable to control, or disguise with fancy brushwork, is his loathing of the body. The movie features several gross-out scenes, including a climactic act of cannibalism; the Motion Picture Association of America gave it an X rating. (The distributors released it unrated.) What's offensive about the picture, though, isn't its violence or its visceral shocks but the patrician arrogance, the smug aestheticism, the snobbishness that suffuse every frame. Greenaway is an intellectual bully: he pushes us to the ground and kicks art in our faces. Also with Alan Howard (the Lover) and Richard Bohringer (the Cook). Cinematography by Sacha Vierny. -- Terrence Rafferty"
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker

The Cook, the Thief, his Wife, her Lover -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover -- Wikipedia

Kitchen Stories.

Rating: pg-rating symbol

Salmer fra Kjøkkenet

Kitchen Stories

(95 min., 2003)

Product Description

"A Swedish researcher strikes up an unlikely friendship with a cranky Norwegian farmer in this 'quirky thoughtful and bittersweet' (Boxoffice) comedy that captured audiences' hearts around the world. Both 'warm' (Newsday) and witty Kitchen Stories is 'a deadpan thoroughly delightful comedy that cooks up tasty laughs' (New York Post)!It's the 1950s and a Swedish efficiency expert under strict orders not to interact with his subject is sent to improve a Norwegian farmer's culinary efforts. But the sly old farmer much prefers to amuse himself by impeding the timid researcher's work! Soon in the struggle between neutral observation and the need for human interaction the kitchen becomes a battleground!System Requirements: Running Time 95 MinFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA Rating: PG UPC: 027616919571 Manufacturer No: 1007910"

Kitchen Stories -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Kitchen Stories -- Wikipedia

Magic Kitchen.

Rating: pg-rating symbol


Magic Kitchen

(103 min., 2004)
Hong Kong

Product Description

"Pop icons Andy Lau (The Duel, Infernal Affairs), Sammi Cheng (Love On A Diet) and Taiwanese hearthrob Jerry Yan star in this new romantic comedy on taste and love. Yau (Cheng) is the chef and owner of a speakeasy restaurant who cooks everything by the book. But her successful career can't compensate for an empty love life. During an appearance on the popular Japanese TV show 'Iron Chef', Yau bumps into her old flame Chuen (Lau), who is about to marry Yau's best friend. Enraged, Yau decides to use the competition as the perfect chance to take revenge on her ex-boyfriend."

Magic Kitchen -- Wikipedia

Chinese Feast.

Rating:pg-rating symbol


The Gamyuk Muntong

Chinese Feast

(110 min., 1996)
Hong Kong comedy

Synopsis -- Wikipedia

"Kit was a master chef who once raked in many accolades as being the finest Chinese cook. An elite cooking competition had placed him enviably in front of many aspiring colleagues and he seemed to have the world at his feet. However, the competition placed him in a dilemma of conflicting interests of heart - his own craft or the woman whom he loves."

"His obsession (and persistently stubborn attitude) with his work confirmed that he did not appear to hold his girlfriend in a special regard. She was about to conceive their child, at the same time he was about to participate in an important and prestigious cooking contest. She dumped him for disregarding the relationship. Realising that successful career can only be shared with a significant other, Kit turned bitter. He became an alcoholic, traumatized by the separation. His career diminished and he was quickly forgotten. To further compound problems, his sense of taste appeared to have left him due to his constant drunken state, and he became cranky and unsociable."

"Elsewhere, a popular Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong owned by Au was approached by an organisation 'Super Group' who wished to merge all major Chinese restaurants into a powerful group to eliminate all opposition in Asia. Au protested and the Super Group supremo throws down a challenge to cook the legendary Manchu Han Imperial Feast, where the loser would be absorbed into the Super Group indefinitely."

"Au then enlists the assistance of former triad member a rookie chef named Sun who aspires to be a top chef, and had worked at Au's restaurant wishing to shed his criminal past together with Au's daughter Wai. After several foiled attempts at preparing even a simple dish, they then realised the futility of their initial efforts as the Feast could only be accomplished by a master chef and their limited cooking skills would be of no use if they were to save their establishment."

"It would then be unquestionably up to Sun and Wai to travel to China to seek the once-famous Kit and to engage his valuable services in order to salvage the integrity of their restaurant."

"Once there, the duo managed to catch up with Kit. They were able to convince Kit to join forces after much persuasion, particularly a reunification with his wife. The former great chef was still in a drunken state most of the time and proved unhelpful, at least at first. After much practice, Kit was able to improve."

"During the tournament, the contestants prepared rare and luxurious dishes. Kit was able to recapture his previous glories and ultimately saved Au's restaurant after a closely fought contest. The movie would eventually end on a happy note as is the theme of all Lunar New Year movies."

Chinese Feast -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Chinese Feast -- Wikipedia

Video, Comfort and Joy.

Rating: pg-rating symbol

Comfort and Joy

(106 min., 1984)
United Kingdom -- Scotland

Glasgow Ice Cream Wars

"Radio host Alan Bird witnesses how an ice cream van is attacked and destroyed by angry competitors. This leads him into the struggle between two Italian families over the ice cream market of Glasgow."

"Inspired by real events in Glasgow, Scotland, Forsyth's film presents Alan Bird (Bill Paterson), a radio DJ whose breakup with his girlfriend leads him, in the most random way, right into the middle of the city's 'ice cream wars.' Replacing the pots and pans his ex took with her, Bird becomes intrigued with a woman in an ice cream van, and in the absurd high jinks that result, he finds the solace, sweetness, comfort, and joy that his previous domestic life offered. A quirky and quiet work." -- Food on Film -- Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture

Food on Film -- Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture

Comfort and Joy -- Wikipedia

Video, American Beauty.

Rating: R-rating symbol

American Beauty

(122 min., 1999)

Amazon.com essential video

"From its first gliding aerial shot of a generic suburban street, American Beauty moves with a mesmerizing confidence and acuity epitomized by Kevin Spacey's calm narration. Spacey is Lester Burnham, a harried Everyman whose midlife awakening is the spine of the story, and his very first lines hook us with their teasing fatalism--like Sunset Boulevard's Joe Gillis, Burnham tells us his story from beyond the grave."

"It's an audacious start for a film that justifies that audacity. Weaving social satire, domestic tragedy, and whodunit into a single package, Alan Ball's first theatrical script dares to blur generic lines and keep us off balance, winking seamlessly from dark, scabrous comedy to deeply moving drama. The Burnham family joins the cinematic short list of great dysfunctional American families, as Lester is pitted against his manic, materialistic realtor wife, Carolyn (Annette Bening, making the most of a mostly unsympathetic role) and his sullen, contemptuous teenaged daughter, Jane (Thora Birch, utterly convincing in her edgy balance of self-absorption and wistful longing). Into their lives come two catalytic outsiders. A young cheerleader (Mena Suvari) jolts Lester into a sexual epiphany that blooms into a second adolescence. And an eerily calm young neighbor (Wes Bentley) transforms both Lester and Jane with his canny influence."

"Credit another big-screen newcomer, English theatrical director Sam Mendes, with expertly juggling these potentially disjunctive elements into a superb ensemble piece that achieves a stylized pace without lapsing into transparent self-indulgence. Mendes has shrewdly insured his success with a solid crew of stage veterans, yet he's also made an inspired discovery in Bentley, whose Ricky Fitts becomes a fulcrum for both plot and theme. Cinematographer Conrad Hall's sumptuous visual design further elevates the film, infusing the beige interiors of the Burnhams' lives with vivid bursts of deep crimson, the color of roses--and of blood. --Sam Sutherland"

Product Description

"Marking the feature film directorial debut of award-winning theatre director Sam Mendes this funny moving and shocking journey through life in suburban America follows the trials and tribulations of Lester (Kevin Spacey) and Carolyn (Annette Bening) an upper-middle class couple whose marriage - and lives - are slowly unraveling. Lester s wife hates him his daughter Jane regards him with contempt and his boss is positioning him for the ax. So Lester decides to make a few changes in his life; the freer he gets the happier he gets which is even more maddening to his wife and daughter. But Lester is about to learn that the ultimate freedom comes at the ultimate price. Winner of five Academy Awards: Best Picture Director Actor Screenplay and Cinematography.System Requirements:Starring: Kevin Spacey Annette Bening Thora Birch Chris Cooper Peter Gallagher Mena Suvari and Wes Bentley. Directed By: Sam Mendes. Running Time: 122 Min. Color. This film is presented in 'Widescreen' format. Copyright 2000 Universal Distribution Corp.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA Rating: R UPC: 667068538229 Manufacturer No: 65382"

Official website

American Beauty -- Wikipedia

Dinner Rush.

Rating: R-rating symbol

Dinner Rush

(99 min., 2000)

"Dinner Rush is gourmet cinema, served with a generous helping of culinary panache. After countless commercials, music videos (including Michael Jackson's 'Beat It'), and a few obscure features, director and restaurateur Bob Giraldi casts his own New York eatery as a TriBeCa hot spot where the owner (Danny Aiello) presides over a busy night of fine dining and mob entanglements. He's been a bookmaker for 25 years but he's going legit; his son (Edoardo Ballerini) is a nuovo cuisine genius, eager to inherit the business; the sous-chef (Kirk Acevedo) is deeply in debt to mafia thugs; an art-dealer snob (Mark Margolis) is antagonizing his waitress (Summer Phoenix); a charming stranger (John Corbett) harbors a climactic surprise; and a powerful food critic (Sandra Bernhard) is ready to pounce on any wrong move. In perfect control of this bustling environment, Giraldi directs like a great chef cooks: with Altmanesque delicacy, confident that every ingredient is vital to the success of his creation. It's utterly delicious. --Jeff Shannon"

Product Description

"During the course of one frenzied evening a restaurant owner and bookmaker deals with a potential hostile takeover a snooty critic and his attraction to his dead partner's widow. Danny Aiello and John Corbett bring the behind-the-scenes drama of a NYC Italian restaurant to life through an exciting tale of gangsters and gourmet food.Running Time: 99 min.System Requirements: Running Time 99 MinFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA Rating: R UPC: 794043610523"

Dinner Rush -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Dinner Rush -- Wikipedia

Soul Food.

Rating: R-rating symbol

Soul Food

(114 min., 1997)

"Soul Food is the kind of movie that seems to have been blessed throughout its low-budget production, and it's got a quality of warmth and charm that fits perfectly with its authentic drama about a large African-American family in Chicago. Twenty-eight-year-old writer-director George Tillman Jr. drew autobiographical inspiration from his upbringing in Milwaukee, and on a well-spent $6.5 million budget he succeeded where similar films (including Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back) fell short: He depicts his many characters with such depth and sympathy that, by the time they have weathered several family crises, we've come to care and feel for them and the powerful ties that bind them together. As seen through the eyes of Tillman's young alter ego Ahmad (Brandon Hammond), the film primarily focuses on the rivalries and affections that rise and fall among Ahmad's mother (Vivica A. Fox) and her two sisters (Vanessa L. Williams, Nia Long). Through them, and through the weekly Sunday dinners cooked with love by their mother, Big Mama (Irma P. Hall), we witness marital bliss and distress, infidelity, success, failure... in short, the spices of life both bitter and sweet. But when Big Mama falls into a diabetic coma, Ahmad watches as his family begins to fall apart without the stability and love that Big Mama provided with every Sunday meal."

"Tillman's touch can be overly nostalgic, melodramatic, and cloyingly sentimental, but never so much that the movie loses its firm grip on reality. As a universal portrait of family life, Soul Food ranks among the very best films of its kind--believable, funny, emotional, and always approaching its characters (well-played by a uniformly excellent cast) with a generous spirit of forgiveness and understanding. As satisfying as one of Big Mama's delicious dinners, Soul Food is the kind of movie that keeps you coming back for more. --Jeff Shannon"

Product Description

"Sunday dinner at Mothers Joe's (Irma P. Hall) is a mouth watering, 40 year tradition. As seen through the eyes of her grandson Ahmad (Brandon Hammond), love and laughs are always on the menu, despite the usual rivalries simmering between his mom Maxine and her sisters Teri an bird. But when serious bickering starts to tear the family apart, the good times suddenly stop. Now it's up to Ahmad to get everyone back together and teach them the true meaning of soul food."

Soul Food -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Soul Food -- Wikipedia

What's Cooking?

Rating: pg-rating symbol

What's Cooking?

(109 min., 2000)

"At first glance, What's Cooking? looks like it was dreamed up by some politically correct screenwriting committee: a series of overlapping stories that intercut among four families (one Hispanic, one Vietnamese, one African American, one Jewish) all preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. But what could be toothless and smarmy is made gripping and genuinely affecting by a mixture of observant writing, fluid direction, and a truly superb ensemble of actors, including Mercedes Ruehl, Alfre Woodard, Joan Chen, Julianna Margulies, Kyra Sedgewick, Dennis Haysbert, and a host of less well known but just as capable others. The script is a marvel of orchestration: small annoyances blossom into fierce conflicts, secrets are deftly revealed, and sanctimoniousness is subtly punctured. The acute but sympathetic portrait of family stress and tension is layered with quiet observations about race and class, as well as the capacity for tolerance and forgiveness. It's recently become a cliché to have characters express themselves through food (examples include Soul Food, Big Night, and Eat Drink Man Woman), but What's Cooking? turns food into a witty exploration of culture as everyone prepares their turkeys in entertainingly different ways--this is not a movie to watch on an empty stomach. Warm without false sentiment, What's Cooking? is deeply enjoyable. --Bret Fetzer"

Product Description

"What happens when families come together for Thanksgiving? Almost anything! Sit back relax and enjoy this 'generous and charming' (The New York Times) tale of four very different families as they cook up some tasty holiday surprises: love betrayal and even a few outrageous secrets! And ultimately discover the astonishing power love has to reconnect us all.System Requirements:Starring: Joan Chen Julianna Margulies Mercedes Ruehl Kyra Sedgwick Alfre Woodard Maury Chaykin Estelle Harris Dennis Haysbert Lainie Kazan Victor Rivers and Douglas Spain. Directed By: Gurinder Chadha. Running Time: 109 Min. Color. This film is presented in 'Standard' format. Copyright 2003 Lions Gate Entertainment.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA Rating:  UPC: 031398826927 Manufacturer No: VM8269D"

What's Cooking? -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

What's Cooking? -- Wikipedia

Video, Diner.

Rating: R-rating symbol


(110 min., 1999)
comedy drama

Amazon.com essential video

"Barry Levinson's debut film as a writer-director nearly got lost in the shuffle before New York critics rescued it from oblivion. Set in his native Baltimore in 1959, it focuses on a group of pals coping with life post high school. Each of them has problems with women, it seems, whether it's Steve Guttenberg (as a guy about to get married who forces his fiancée to pass a test about the Baltimore Colts), Mickey Rourke (as the womanizing hairdresser with a gambling problem), or Daniel Stern (as the married one who makes his wife miserable with his carefully cataloged record collection). The only time these guys seem like they have it together is when they gather at the diner to sling the bull. The cast includes Ellen Barkin, Timothy Daly, Paul Reiser, and Kevin Bacon--each in a breakthrough role. --Marshall Fine"

Product Description

"The film that launched successful careers for Kevin Bacon, Ellen Barkin, Paul Reiser, Mickey Rourke and more! It's a lively, poignant tale of friends trying to recapture their lost innocence in 1959 Baltimore."

"One of Levinson's most popular works, with his trademark adulation of the city of Baltimore and 'coming of age' stories. Here, it's 1959, and five childhood male friends now in their twenties gather at Christmastime and contemplate their reluctant transition to adulthood. But it's at a local diner where their bonds and separations most clearly come to light, and where they eat plates of fries dunked in gravy (a classic for that time and place, presumably). Many great lines, including 'You have, like, chunks of roast beef in your heart!' and some 'pecker'corn to make you laugh and squirm. In some ways the film reads like a tame (yes, very) antecedent to Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (1991), which begins at a diner and also revolves around men evaluating their trust in one another while testing their own virility." -- Food on Film -- Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture

Food on Film -- Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture

Diner -- Wikipedia


Rating: R-rating symbol


(100 min., 1992)
French black comedy

"The title credit for Delicatessen reads 'Presented by Terry Gilliam,' and it's easy to understand why the director of Brazil was so supportive of this outrageously black French comedy from 1991. Like Gilliam, French codirectors Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro have wildly inventive imaginations that gravitate to the darker absurdities of human behavior, and their visual extravagance is matched by impressive technical skill. Here, making their feature debut, Jeunet and Caro present a postapocalyptic scenario set entirely in a dank and gloomy building where the landlord operates a delicatessen on the ground floor. But this is an altogether meatless world, so the butcher-landlord keeps his customers happy by chopping unsuspecting victims into cutlets, and he's sharpening his knife for a new tenant (French comic actor Dominque Pinon) who's got the hots for the butcher's nearsighted daughter! Delicatessen is a feast (if you will) of hilarious vignettes, slapstick gags, and sweetly eccentric characters, including a man in a swampy room full of frogs, a woman doggedly determined to commit suicide (she never gets its right), and a pair of brothers who make toy sound boxes that 'moo' like cows. It doesn't amount to much as a story, but that hardly matters; this is the kind of comedy that springs from a unique wellspring of imagination and inspiration, and it's handled with such visual virtuosity that you can't help but be mesmerized. There's some priceless comedy happening here, some of which is so inventive that you may feel the urge to stand up and cheer. --Jeff Shannon"

Product Description

"From Jean-Pierre Jeunet the award-winning director of AMELIE comes a unique and surreal dark comedy that received overwhelming critical acclaim! In a post-apocalyptic society where meat is scarce cannibalism is no longer unsavory. And when a young ex-clown takes a job in a dilapidated deli he's completely unaware that the butcher plans to serve him to the building's bizarre tenants! But when the butcher s nearsighted daughter falls for the clown she'll go to absurd lengths to foil her father's plan! Loaded with tasty bonus features this bonafide cult classic now premieres on DVD!Bonus Features:1. Feature Commentary By Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet2. Fine-Cooked Meats: A Nod To DELICATESSEN3. The Archives Of Jean-Pierre Jeunet4. Theatrical Trailer5. DELICATESSEN TEASERSSystem Requirements:Running Time 99 Mins.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: COMEDY Rating: R UPC: 786936694482 Manufacturer No: 04962200"

Delicatessen -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Delicatessen -- Wikipedia

Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie / The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.

Rating: pg-rating symbol

Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

(101 min., 1972, DVD 894 [2 videodiscs 101, 98 min.])
French surrealist film

"An upper-class sextet sits down to dinner but never eats, their attempts continually thwarted by a vaudevillian mixture of events both actual and imagined. Mixes biting social satire with bold surrealistic invention as the dinner party serves to lampoon such targets as diplomats, wealthy socialites, and even radical terrorists."


"What can be more enjoyable then a meal among friends and family? In Luis Buñuel's surrealistic comedy The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie it is this common ritual a sextet of upper-class friends repeatedly attempt, only to be obstructed by one obscure event after another. Masterfully balancing the dichotomy of class vs. debauchery Buñuel delivers a ripping critique of the upper class. It is clear from the beginning that the lives Buñuel’s Bourgeoisie are living are not what they seem. Eventually, their true colors begin to shine; not in actual actions but in haunting dreams. What is real and what lies in the subconscious becoming exceedingly blurry and in order to deliver his message, surrealism must take over. It is hard to pigeonhole Buñuel’s classic that won him the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film 1972: An absurd odyssey? A discreet satire? Not necessarily, but definitely charming. --Rob Bracco"

Product Description

"In Luis Buñuel's deliciously satiric masterpiece, an upper-class sextet sits down to dinner but never eats, their attempts continually thwarted by a vaudevillian mixture of events both actual and imagined. Fernando Rey, Stéphane Audran, Delphine Seyring, and Jean-Pierre Cassel head the extraordinary cast of this 1972 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film. Criterion is proud to present The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie in an exclusive Special Edition Double-Disc Set."

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgoisie -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie -- Wikipedia

Video, A Chef in Love.

Rating:pg-rating symbol

შეყვარებული კულინარის

Shekvarebuli kulinaris ataserti retsepti

A Chef in Love

(100 min., 1997)
Georgian romantic comedy

"This story begins in pre-Communist revolution Russia and follows the incredible adventures of French chef Pascal Ichac. Early in the film he meets Princess Cecilia Abachidze and the two travel through Russia together. His keen sense of taste and smell allow him to detect bombs; twice he smells gunpowder and manages to foil the plots of the revolutionary Zigmund Gogladze (Timur Kamkhadze) . Unfortunately, in doing so he manages to create a life-long enemy. Later, he settles down with Abachidze (Nino Kirtadze)  and opens his own restaurant in Georgia. During the Communist revolution he refuses to leave his restaurant and ends up being a servant to Gogladze. Gogladze eventually persuades Abachidze to marry him in return for promising to spare Ichac life. Ichac's servitude to Gogladze does not last; he serves him crow, resulting in the communist getting ill in front of his troops. After that incident Ichac lives in an attic and is brought meals by Abachidze until he dies."

"Soviet comrade Zigmund is finally able to force his beloved Princess Cecilia Abachidze out of the house of great chef Pascal Ichak (Pierre Richard). Ah, but not out of his bed nor arms. Coming home one day, Zigmund hears them at it through the bedroom door. That's when, resonating on many different levels, he fetches a big pot of soup and gobbles it up in big spoonsful as he strides back and forth in front of that door, listening raptly to the sounds of pleasure just out of his reach."

"Throughout this film one gets to watch Ichac both eat and prepare wonderful meals. One exceptional scene is when he is challenged to identify all the meats in a dish. Not only is he able to identify all of the meats, he is also able to tell that the liver used in the dish is bear liver. Another wonderful food scene occurs when he is showing a fellow gourmet the dishes in his kitchen. He gestures to the gourmet and tells him that the best dish is over here, and gestures to a pit. One of his assistants removes a sumptuous looking suckling pig. The food scenes in this film are fewer in number and less appetizing than those in Big Night, but they are certainly sufficient to qualify this as a food film." -- A Chef in Love -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

A Chef in Love -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

A Chef in Love -- Wikipedia

The Battleship Potemkin.

Rating:pg-rating symbol

Battleship Potemkin

(74 min., b&w, 1925 [1998], DVD 3)
Russian silent film

on-line video: Battleship Potemkin -- About.com

Amazon.com essential video

"Sergei Eisenstein's revolutionary sophomore feature has so long stood as a textbook example of montage editing that many have forgotten what an invigoratingly cinematic experience he created. A 20th-anniversary tribute to the 1905 revolution, Eisenstein portrays the revolt in microcosm with a dramatization of the real-life mutiny aboard the battleship Potemkin. The story tells a familiar party-line message of the oppressed working class (in this case the enlisted sailors) banding together to overthrow their oppressors (the ship's officers), led by proto-revolutionary Vakulinchuk. When he dies in the shipboard struggle the crew lays his body to rest on the pier, a moody, moving scene where the citizens of Odessa slowly emerge from the fog to pay their respects. As the crowd grows Eisenstein turns the tenor from mourning a fallen comrade to celebrating the collective achievement. The government responds by sending soldiers and ships to deal with the mutinous crew and the supportive townspeople, which climaxes in the justly famous (and often imitated and parodied) Odessa Steps massacre. Eisenstein edits carefully orchestrated motions within the frame to create broad swaths of movement, shots of varying length to build the rhythm, close-ups for perspective and shock effect, and symbolic imagery for commentary, all to create one of the most cinematically exciting sequences in film history. Eisenstein's film is Marxist propaganda to be sure, but the power of this masterpiece lies not in its preaching but its poetry. --Sean Axmaker"

Product Description

"For eight decades, Sergei Eisenstein s 1925 masterpiece has remained the most influential silent film of all time. Yet each successive generation has seen BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN subjected to censorship and recutting, its unforgettable power diluted in unauthorized public domain editions from dubious sources. Until now. Kino is proud to join the Deutsche Kinematek in association with Russia s Goskinofilm, the British Film Institute, Bundesfilm Archive Berlin, and the Munich Film Museum in presenting this all new HD Transfered restoration of BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN. Dozens of missing shots have been replaced, and all 146 title cards restored to Eisenstein s specifications. Edmund Meisel s definitive 1926 score, magnificently rendered by the 55-piece Deutches Filmorchestra in 5.1 Stereo Surround, returns Eisenstein s masterwork to a form as close to its creator s bold vision as has been seen since the film s triumphant 1925 Moscow premiere. Odessa 1905. Enraged with the deplorable conditions on board the armored cruiser Potemkin, the ship s loyal crew contemplates the unthinkable mutiny. Seizing control of the Potemkin and raising the red flag of revolution, the sailors revolt becomes the rallying point for a Russian populace ground under the boot heels of the Czar s Cossacks. When ruthless White Russian cavalry arrives to crush the rebellion on the sandstone Odessa Steps, the most famous and most quoted film sequence in cinema history is born."

Battleship Potemkin -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

The Battleship Potemkin -- Wikipedia

Festen / The Celebration.

Rating: R-rating symbol


The Celebration

(106 min., 1998, DVD 376)

"Helge Klingenfeldt is a respected Danish patriarch whose country estate is the scene of a grand celebration in honor of his sixtieth birthday. His adult children and extended family have gathered together for the occasion, but no one is ready for the bombshell about to be delivered by his oldest son, Christian, in his birthday toast: a dark family secret that contributed to his twin sister’s recent suicide."

Festen -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

The Celebration -- Wikipedia


Rating: R-rating symbol


(146 min., 2004, DVD 361, VC 3122)
crime drama

"Details the rise and fall of Henry Hill, a Brooklyn kid who grows up idolizing the 'wise guys' from his neighborhood. He begins hanging around the mobsters and doing odd jobs until he gains the notice of local chieftain Paulie Cicero. In his teens, Hill distinguishes himself as a 'stand-up guy' by choosing jail time over ratting on his accomplices. From that moment on, he is a part of the family. Along with his partner Tommy, he rises through the ranks to become Paulie’s lieutenant. Soon he finds himself the target of both the feds and the mobsters."


"Martin Scorsese's 1990 masterpiece GoodFellas immortalizes the hilarious, horrifying life of actual gangster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), from his teen years on the streets of New York to his anonymous exile under the Witness Protection Program. The director's kinetic style is perfect for recounting Hill's ruthless rise to power in the 1950s as well as his drugged-out fall in the late 1970s; in fact, no one has ever rendered the mental dislocation of cocaine better than Scorsese. Scorsese uses period music perfectly, not just to summon a particular time but to set a precise mood. GoodFellas is at least as good as The Godfather without being in the least derivative of it. Joe Pesci's psycho improvisation of Mobster Tommy DeVito ignited Pesci as a star, Lorraine Bracco scores the performance of her life as the love of Hill's life, and every supporting role, from Paul Sorvino to Robert De Niro, is a miracle."

Product Description

"When Martin Scorsese, one of the world's most skillful and respected directors, reunited with two-time Oscar-winner Robert De Niro in GoodFellas, the result was one of the most powerful films of the year. Based on the true-life best seller Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi and backed by a dynamic pop/rock oldies soundtrack, critics and filmgoers alike declared GoodFellas great. It was named 1990's best film by the New York, Los Angeles and National Society of Film Critics. And it earned six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Robert De Niro received wide recognition for his performance as veteran criminal Jimmy 'The Gent' Conway. And as the volatile Tommy DeVito, Joe Pesci walked off with the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Academy Award nominee Lorraine Bracco, Ray Liotta and Paul Sorvino also turned in electrifying performances. You have to see it to believe it - then watch it again. GoodFellas explores the criminal life like no other movie."

Goodfellas -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Goodfellas -- Wikipedia

The Global Banquet: The Politics of Food.     Global Banquet.

The Global Banquet: The Politics of Food

(56 min., 2001, VC 4770)

Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan / Land Without Bread.

Rating:pg-rating symbol

Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan

Land Without Bread

(27 min., 1932, VC 4506)
Spainish documentary

"Un chien Andalou, a surrealistic movie, was written over the course of a three day exchange of fantasies and dreams with Salvador Dali. Land without bread made in 1932 and is Bunuel’s only documentary film. It portrays the everyday lives of indigent peasants in one of Spain’s most desolate regions."

Land without Bread -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Land Without Bread -- Wikipedia

Super Size Me.

Rating: pg-rating symbol

Super Size Me

(100 min., 2004, UM DULUTH Library Multimedia TX945.5.M33 S87 2004 DVD)

Super Size Me -- snagfilms.com


"Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock embarks on a journey to find out if fast food is making Americans fat. For 30 days he can’t eat or drink anything that isn’t on McDonald’s menu; he must eat three square meals a day, he must eat everything on the menu at least once and supersize his meal if asked. He treks across the country interviewing a host of experts on fast food and a number of regular folk while downing McDonald’s to try and find out why 37% of Americans are now overweight. Spurlock’s grueling diet spirals him into a metamorphosis that will make you think twice about picking up another Big Mac."

Super Size Me -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Super Size Me -- Wikipedia

Mostly Martha.

Rating: pg-rating symbol

Bella Martha

Mostly Martha

(106 min., 2001, DVD 110)
Bengali romantic comedy drama

"Martha is the chef who fusses and obsesses over each dish before it leaves the kitchen. The demands of her job and her natural shyness keep her from meeting new people. When her sister suddenly dies, Martha adopts Lina, her eight-year-old niece, completely changing both lives. Martha gets unexpected help from Mario, Martha’s hunky new sous chef, who is not only a whiz on the chopping block but knows sundry magic tricks and jokes to keep Lina’s spirits afloat. Just as Martha starts to grow attached to the girl, Lina’s erratic father shows up demanding that he take her back to Italy with him."

Mostly Martha -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Mostly Martha -- Wikipedia

Video, Ashani Sanket, aka Distant Thunder.

Rating: R-rating symbol

অশনি সংকেত

Ashani Sanket

Distant Thunder

(101 min., 1973)

"The film [by the renowned Indian director Satyajit Ray] is set in the rural Indian province of Bengal during the Second World War, and examines the effect of the Great Famine of 1943 on the villages of Bengal through the eyes of a young Brahmin doctor-teacher and his wife. Ray shows the human scale of a cataclysmic event that killed more than 3 million people. The film unfolds at a leisurely pace that reflects the rhythms of village life, but gradually shows the breakdown of traditional village norms under the pressure of hunger and starvation." -- Ashani Sanket -- Wikipedia

"The film is not about the famine but the events leading to it at a micro scale. In stead of rotting dead bodies, what we see is the changing life and the behavior of the villagers." -- Ashani Sanket at SatyajitRay homepage

Ashani Sanket -- Food in the Arts, The London Food Film Fiesta

Ashani Sanket at SatyajitRay homepage

Ashani Sanket -- Wikipedia

Les glaneurs et la glaneuse / Gleaners and I.

Rating:pg-rating symbol

Les glaneurs et la glaneuse

Gleaners and I

(82 min., 2001, DVD 810)
French documentary

"Varda’s most recent effort--the first filmed with a digital videocamera--focuses on gleaners, those who gather the spoils left after a harvest, as well as those who mine the trash. Some completely exist on the leavings; others turn them into art, exercise their ethics, or simply have fun. The director likens gleaning to her own profession-that of collecting images, stories, fragments of sound, light, and color."--Www.imdb.com.

From The New Yorker

"The French filmmaker Agnès Varda, digital camera in hand, roams around her native country recording the movements of gleaners. Traditionally, as in the archetypal Millet painting, gleaners were women who gathered the remains of the harvest; their modern counterparts are mostly scavengers, searching in dumpsters and other likely places. The French, of course, give the practice a wonderfully perverse twist-many gleaners do so by choice, disdainful of wastefulness and rampant consumerism. Varda's photographic eye is much in evidence, and her narration is both shrewd and whimsical. When she leaves a camera on accidentally, she uses the unintended footage to create a 'dance of the lens cap,' a filmic gleaning that acts as a perfect grace note. In French. -Michael Agger"
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker

Product Description

"Agnès Varda, Grande Dame of the French New Wave, has made 2001's most acclaimed non-fiction film-a self-described 'wandering-road documentary.' Beginning with the famous Jean-François Millet painting of women gathering wheat left over from a harvest, she focuses her ever-seeking eye on gleaners: those who scour already-reaped fields for the odd potato or turnip. Her investigation leads us from forgotten corners of the French countryside to off-hours at the green markets of Paris, following those who insist on finding a use for that which society has cast off, whether out of necessity or activism. Varda's own ruminations on her life as a filmmaker (a gleaner of sorts) give her a connection to her subjects that creates a touching human portrait that the L.A. Weekly deemed 'a protest film that's part social critique, part travelogue, but always an unsentimental celebration of human resilience.' This Edition features the 60-minute follow-up film GLEANERS: TWO YEARS LATER."

The Gleaners and I -- Wikipedia

Como era gostoso o meu Francês / How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman.

Rating:pg-rating symbol

Como era gostoso o meu Francês

How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman

(80 min., 1971)
Brazilian black comedy


"As its title suggests, How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman is a tongue-in-cheek filmic interpretation of a possibly true anthropophagical tale set in the 16th-century Brazilian tropics. Cunhambebe, leader of the Tupinamba tribe, captures an unnamed Frenchman, erroneously convinced that he is a Portuguese enemy. Instead of immediately slaughtering the Frenchman, the tribe adopts him for eight blissful months preceding a planned ceremony to cannibalize him. The Frenchman acquires a beautiful native wife, who becomes one of the most interesting characters in the film as a woman who is both possessed by her husband and who controls his capture. The apparent accuracy of jungle sounds and traditional native lifestyles, along with realistic handheld camera work, lend this film a documentary feel exemplifying Brazilian Cinema Novo, in which historical stories are relived to comment on contemporary politics. Previously difficult to see, director Nelson Pereira dos Santos's tale of cannibalism is renowned for its sympathetic view of natives and critique of colonialism. As proof, the extras include interviews with a Columbia film critic, Richard Peña, and a Krenak tribe member, Ailton, both of whom praise the movie for its respectful take on controversial subject matter. How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman is a fascinating take on taboo with an anthropological bent and a cinematic eye for drama. --Trinie Dalton"

Product Description

"This delicious black comedy, set in the jungles of Brazil, tells the story of a French adventurer who tries in vain to be accepted by a tribe of cannibals who has captured him. The tribe treats its prisoner better than you might think. They give him food, his own hut -- even a wife. The Frenchman strives to learn the ways of the tribe, hoping to figure out a way to avoid his prescribed fate of being the main course of a ceremonial tribal dinner. Originally banned in Brazil and rejected for official competition at the Cannes Film Festival due to excessive nudity, the film remains a slyly entertaining masterwork of subversive cinema. A classic example of Brazilian Cinema Novo, HOW TASTY WAS MY LITTLE FRENCHMAN tells a uniquely tongue-in-cheek version of what happened when the Europeans 'discovered' America."

How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman -- Wikipedia

Fast Food Nation.

Rating: R-rating symbol

Fast Food Nation

(114 min., 2006)

on-line video: Fast Food Nation -- ZML.com


"If you're still eating that fast-food burger after watching Super Size Me, you might not feel too hungry after watching Fast Food Nation, a fictionalized feature based on Eric Schlosser's bestselling nonfiction expose. Director Richard Linklater, who cowrote the screenplay with Schlosser, guides a topnotch ensemble cast through a peek behind the veil of how that Big Mac is born. Much of the film focuses on the illegal immigrants who work in the loosely regulated meat-packing industry, and actors including the luminous Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace), who plays a desperate but outraged laborer. Greg Kinnear also delivers a spot-on performance as a fast-food chain marketing manager, trying frantically to discover the source of stomach-turning contamination in the company's meat. Stories are woven in unexpected ways, and cameos by the likes of Kris Kristofferson, Patricia Arquette, and especially Bruce Willis keep the narrative fresh. The film has a point of view, but thanks to Linklater's deft touch, is never didactic. As Willis's character slyly says, 'Most people don't like to be told what's best for them.' Agreed, yet Fast Food Nation likely will help the viewer be more conscious of what's on the end of that fork. --A.T. Hurley"

Fast Food Nation -- Wikipedia


Rating: pg-rating symbol


(153 min., 1968)


"Film buffs and critics can argue until their faces turn blue about whether this lavish Dickensian musical deserved the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1968, but the movie speaks for itself on grandly entertaining terms. Adapted from Dickens's classic novel, it's one of the most dramatically involving and artistically impressive musicals of the 1960s, directed by Carol Reed with a delightful enthusiasm that would surely have impressed Dickens himself. Mark Lester plays the waifish orphan Oliver Twist, who is befriended by the pickpocketing Artful Dodger (Jack Wild) and recruited into the gang of boy thieves led by Fagin (played to perfection by Ron Moody). The villainous Bill Sikes (Oliver Reed) casts his long shadow over Oliver and his friends, but the young orphan is still able to find loving care in the most desperate of circumstances. Full of memorable melodies and splendid lyrics, Oliver! is a timeless film, prompting even hard-to-please critic Pauline Kael to call it 'a superb demonstration of intelligent craftsmanship,' and to further observe that 'it's as if the movie set out to be a tribute to Dickens and his melodramatic art as well as to tell the story of Oliver Twist.' --Jeff Shannon"


Is it worth the waiting for?
If we live 'til eighty four
All we ever get is gru...el!
Ev'ry day we say our prayer --
Will they change the bill of fare?
Still we get the same old gru...el!
There is not a cust, not a crumb can we find,
Can we beg, can we borrow, or cadge,
But there's nothing to stop us from getting a thrill
When we all close our eyes and imag...ine

Food, glorious food!
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we're in the mood --
Cold jelly and custard!
Pease pudding and saveloys!
"What's next?" is the question.
Rich gentlemen have it, boys --

Food, glorious food!
We're anxious to try it.
Three banquets a day --
Our favourite diet!

Just picture a great big steak --
Fried, roasted or stewed.
Oh, food,
Wonderful food,
Marvellous food,
Glorious food.

Food, glorious food!
What is there more handsome?
Gulped, swallowed or chewed --
Still worth a kin's ransom.
What is it we dream about?
What brings on a sigh?
Piled peaches and cream , about
Six feet high!

Food, glorious food!
Eat right through the menu.
Just loosen your belt
Two inches and then you
Work up a new appetite.
In this interlude --
Then food,
Once again, food
Fabulous food,
Glorious food.
[these lyrics are found on http://www.songlyrics.com]

Food, glorious food!
Don't care what it looks like --
Don't care what the cook's like.
Just thinking of growing fat --
Our senses go reeling
One moment of knowing that
Full-up feeling!

Food, glorious food!
What wouldn't we give for
That extra bit more --
That's all that we live for
Why should we be fated to
Do nothing but brood
On food,
Magical food,
Wonderful food,
Marvellous food,
Fabulous food,


Beautiful food,


Glorious food.

-- Oliver


Oliver! -- Wikipedia

The Adventures of Food Boy

The Adventures of Food Boy

(90 min., 2008)


Ezra (Lucas Grabeel/High School Musical 1, 2 & 3) discovers he has a unique ability to make food appear in his hands. Ezra quickly uses his new super powers to impress his friends and to become popular around school for the first time in his life. His life gets turned upside down when he can t control his gift and turns his high school into a major food fight zone. While coping with his disintegrating life, Ezra must decide whether he will give up the food gift forever or if he will embrace his new identity and become Food Boy.

Official Website

The Adventures of Food Boy -- Wikipedia

Rating: NC-17-rating symbol

La Grande bouffe

La grande abbuffata

(130 min., 1973)

Director: Giuseppe De Santis

FrenchItalian surrealistic comedy drama

"The film tells the story of four friends who gather in a villa for the weekend for the express purpose of eating themselves to death. Bouffer is French slang for 'eating' (the Italian abbuffata means 'great eating')."

"The film was somewhat controversial upon its original release with its scatological humour and comic depictions of sex and over-eating."


Marco Ferreri won the FIPRESCI Prize given by the International Federation of Film Critics at Cannes Film Festival in 1973.

Golden Screen, Germany, 1974

La Grande bouffe -- Wikipedia

La Grande bouffe -- Food in the Arts, London Food Film Fiesta 2000

Riso Amoro (Bitter Rice) poster.

Rating:pg-rating symbol
(according to Amazon.com)

Riso Amaro

Bitter Rice

(108 min., 1949)

Director: Giuseppe De Santis

"One of Italy's most commercially successful films, Bitter Rice packed theaters around the world despite being banned by the Legion of Decency in the United States. Though intended as a scathing indictment of harsh conditions endured by women laboring in Italy's rice fields, the film's enormous popularity was largely attributed to the erotic appeal of young Silvana Mangano. The former Miss Rome became a star overnight for her sultry debut as an impoverished yet voluptuous laborer who turns down the chance to emigrate to a better life in South America in favor of a steamy affair with her best friend's lover. Ironically, Marxist writer and director Giuseppe De Santis, one of the founders of Italy's post-World War II neorealist movement, virtually brought the genre to an end with Bitter Rice by demonstrating that sex was a far greater draw than social criticism." -- Amazon.com

Cf., Kostioukovitch, Elena. Why Italians Love to Talk About Food. NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. [English translation by Anne Milano Appel, 2009, pp. 54-55].

Bitter Rice -- Wikipedia
Italian neorealist films -- -- Wikipedia

Food Film Guides and Information Sources:

Film and Food -- Food in the Arts, London Food Film Fiesta 2000

Food on Film -- Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture

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