Babette’s Feast-attachment0

Babette’s Feast

Movie Information

In Brief: The big art house hit of 1988, Babette's Feast is an undeniably charming and strangely touching film that at least comes close to retaining its original lustre -- and possibly even its Oscar win. It is, however, a film I'm not at all sure would really hold up under repeat viewings.
Genre: Drama
Director: Gabriel Axel
Starring: Stéphane Audran, Bodil Kjer, Birgitte Federspiel, Jarl Kulle, Bibi Andersson
Rated: NR

When this ran locally last time, I wrote, “Babette’s Feast snagged the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film of 1988 and was a huge art-house hit. There were times in 1988 when it seemed like the film would never leave theaters. (In fact, I came to resent the film, since it was playing at the only theater within 100 miles that was likely to book Ken Russell’s Salome’s Last Dance, which I’d been waiting on for months.) Yet somehow for all that, it’s a movie I had never caught up with until this past weekend. Did it live up to its award-winning reputation? In the main, I’d say yes. This fairly simple little work about the power of French cuisine to defrost even the strictest Protestant dogma and propriety—the food is prepared by Babette (Stéphane Audran), a Parisian refugee working for two very religious spinsters in rural Denmark—is pretty close to irresistible. And its underlying themes of personal expression and identity are charming and universal.” The one thing I would add to that is that it’s also one of those films that seems very self-contained, by which I mean I have absolutely no interest in seeing it a second time. There’s nothing wrong with that—and if you’ve never seen it, it’s definitely a treat—but it keeps the film from quite ringing the bell for me in the final analysis. You can read my full review of the film here:

The Hendersonville Film Society will show Babette’s Feast at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 10, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.


About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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