Reel Releases

Steven Uhles is a guest entertainment columnist

Feast eyes on films rather than on food

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The holidays are over, and many of us, faced with waistbands expanded by festive feasts, have vowed to eat less, eat better and avoid those deliciously offending foods that added all that winter weight.

I count myself in that number. While my plans don’t extend much beyond eating less and exercising more – an oft-broken resolution in the Uhles house – I do have a secret weapon that I believe will help me in my quest to become, well, less of a man.

Movies about food.

Every time I feel I’m ready to enjoy a big meal, I’m planning on popping in one of the following movies about the power of food. The thought is that cinematic satiation will replace my desire for something deep-fried. I’m quite aware that all this could easily blow up in my face.

Still, here’s the ab­bre­viated library of culinary hits I plan to call on. Bon Appetite.

TAMPOPO (1985): A series of food-featured vignettes are built into the story of a mysterious stranger who rolls into a small town and helps build the perfect noodle restaurant. Although improbable on paper, on the screen this love letter to food and the act of eating is pretty close to perfect.

CHOCOLAT (2000): A mysterious woman and her daughter move into a French village and open a shop selling spectacular chocolate confections. How spectacular? So spectacular that locals begin to wonder whether something so sinfully sweet is, in fact, immoral. This is a lovely little movie about different kinds of love and how each, in its own way, is good, proper and wholesome.

BIG NIGHT (1996): A floundering restaurant is run by two brothers – one a gifted but inflexible chef, the other a somewhat ineffective but good-hearted businessman. They see an opportunity to keep the family business afloat. Spurred by the rumor that a famous jazz musician and his entourage will be making a late-night visit, the brothers prepare a make-or-break meal that is so beautiful, you can almost smell it on the screen.

BABETTE’S FEAST (1987): A young woman, taken in by an austere family during a time of need, expends unexpected lottery winnings on a feast honoring those who helped her. The resulting meal, lavish and luscious, becomes a symbol for not only Babette’s affection and gratitude, but also her repressed passion for food, love and life.

EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN (1994): A master chef and his three daughters find they communicate best when cooking their traditional Sunday meals together. When those daughters begin to contemplate a life away from the family home, the flavor of that dynamic, and the resulting meals, begin to change. A lovely movie about familial love and the common threads often overlooked.


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