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Babette's Feast (1987)

During the late 19th century, a strict religious community in a Danish village takes in a French refugee from the Franco-Prussian War as a servant to the late pastor's daughters. (G, 103 min.)


Wednesday, April 19, 2023

7:00 PM

At once a rousing paean to artistic creation, a delicate evocation of divine grace, and the ultimate film about food, the Oscar-winning Babette’s Feast is a deeply beloved treasure of cinema. Directed by Gabriel Axel and adapted from a story by Isak Dinesen, it is the lovingly layered tale of a French housekeeper with a mysterious past who brings quiet revolution in the form of one exquisite meal to a circle of starkly pious villagers in late nineteenth-century Denmark. Babette’s Feast combines earthiness and reverence in an indescribably moving depiction of sensual pleasure that goes to your head like fine champagne. [Janus]

Starring: Stéphane Audran, Bodil Kjer, Birgitte Federspiel
Director: Gabriel Axel
Languages: English, French, Italian, Danish, Swedish
Genre: Drama

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"A precise and elegant piece. [8 Apr 1988, p.D1]"

— Rita Kempley, Washington Post

"Audran is luminous as the centre of a gentle, generous film about grace. Oh, and grub."

— Philip Kemp, Total Film

"Impeccably mounted and played, this is gastro-cinema at its most sensual and intoxicating."

— David Parkinson, Empire

"A quiet celebration of the divine grace that meets us at every turn, and even redeems our ways not taken, our sacrifices and losses."

— Steven D. Greydanus, Decent Films

"The meal is more than mouthwatering -- it's Dinesen's metaphor for the transcendent power of art. This bountiful movie, like the feast itself, can turn your heart. [14 March 1988, p.61]"

— David Ansen, Newsweek

"All of this is by way of being the prelude to the film's extended, funny and moving final sequence, a spectacular feast, the preparation and execution of which reveal Babette's secret and the nature of her sustaining glory."

— Vincent Canby, The New York Times

"The delectable Babette’s Feast is a fable told with passion, intelligence and sumptuousness. Although it certainly has a feast at its center, it would be a mistake to think that its tribute is intended only for great cooks. No, it’s a deep reverence to all great artists--whether they make books, bowls or ballets, baskets, quilts, songs, poems, paintings . . . or films."

— Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times