High Museum of Art: Films

Food Glorious Food by Linda Dubler
September 8, 2009, 11:51 am
Filed under: General, Top Picks | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.”  Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren

With Julie and Julia launching three books  to the best seller list and a trio of  Atlanta chefs still in the game on Bravo’s Top Chef,  I’ve been thinking about  food in the movies. There’s a familiar handful of titles that pop up whenever anyone puts together a list on this theme — Babette’s Feast, Eat Drink Man Woman, Tampopo, Mostly Martha, Big Night, and now Ratatouille. To that, add Stephen Chow’s hilarious The God of Cookery, in which he plays a jaded, arrogant chef who has lost his mojo and has to rediscover it ; his triumph involves creating a meatball that squirts.

Then there are the documentaries that make eating a worrisome venture, including Super Size Me and Food, Inc. If actual foodstuffs seem too  scary to contemplate, consider Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, a documentary by Les Blank that’s been added as a bonus to Blank’s estimable Burden Of Dreams. It features Herzog, the German filmmaker, fulfilling the  promise  he made to then aspiring filmmaker Errol Morris, that he would literally eat his shoe if Morris ever completed his first project, Gates of Heaven. Shot at the Gates premiere, it shows the ever passionate Werner H. chewing away on  a boot  seasoned with duck fat, garlic, tomatoes and herbs, boileded into  submission, and washed down with  a bottle of Heinenken.  Or revisit Chaplin’s Goldrush for the famous boot-eating scene, (the boot was made of licorice)  which required 3 days and 63 takes to suit the master; supposedly Chaplin was rushed to the hospital in insulin shock following this ordeal.  Here’s that same movie’s bread ballet:

Alfred Hitchcock was notoriously phobic of eggs, declaring “Blood is jolly, red. But egg yolk is yellow, revolting.” One of the most disturbing food images I can think of  is from Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps.  It’s a simple black and white shot of a piece of fish sitting on a lonely plate in the protagonist’s refrigerator — but there’s something about the near empty ice-box and the pale fillet sitting on the white plate that is unappetizing in the extreme.

Here’s a cooking demo that my Asian food enthusiast son showed me. I think that Julia would approve.

What’s whetted your appetite or put you off your feed? Write us and share your thoughts.

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