More deaths

Two recent deaths in the news. First, funny man Sid Caesar, who transformed the face of American comedy in the 1950s through Your Show of Shows. Tributes and recollections are everywhere, Second, and less well known, is filmmaker Gabriel Axel.

From the NYT yesterday, “Gabriel Axel Dies at 95; Directed ‘Babette’s Feast’ ” by Paul Vitello, beginning:

Gabriel Axel, a director whose 1987 labor of love, “Babette’s Feast,” received the first foreign-language Oscar awarded to a Danish motion picture — and heralded a growing popular interest in all things food — died on Sunday in Copenhagen.

From later in the story:

The film’s success coincided with, and helped propel, a broadening popular interest in haute cuisine. In the next decade there would be a proliferation of cookbooks, television shows and movies catering to epicurean tastes — [the movies] including “Like Water for Chocolate” (1992), “Belle Époque” (1992), “The Wedding Banquet” (1993), “Eat Drink Man Woman” (1994) and “Big Night” (1996).

…  The story’s climax involves a five-star meal of many courses prepared by Babette that serves as a kind of revelation, opening the palates (and souls) of her mistresses and their flock to the communal joys — spiritual and sensual — of a shared meal, lovingly prepared.

A luminous film.

From Wikipedia:

Babette’s Feast (Danish: Babettes gæstebud) is a 1987 Danish drama film directed by Gabriel Axel. The film’s screenplay was written by Axel based on the story by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen).

The movie came two years after another great food movie, the Japanese Tampopo. Very different in tone: much comedy, interspersed with sexy scenes. From Wikipedia:

Tampopo (… literally “dandelion”) is a 1985 Japanese comedy film by director Juzo Itami, starring Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto, Kōji Yakusho and Ken Watanabe. The publicity for the film calls it the first ramen western, a play on the term Spaghetti Western (films about the American Old West made by Italian production studios).

The overarching story is about Tampopo’s search for the perfect noodle soup.

One Response to “More deaths”

  1. Xopher Says:

    It will not surprise you that Clay [Bond, Xopher’s partner, who died several years ago] loved, loved Babette’s Feast.

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