Babette's Feast [DVD] 
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Artistic, sensual and sacred passions unite in Babette's Feast. This Oscar-winning film offers "an irresistible mixture of dry wit and robust humanity" (Newsweek).
Released in 1987, Babette's Feast is a film which depicts so little, yet says so much. Set in a rural Danish community, it centres around the twin sisters of the village pastor and the French women who serves them after fleeing the 1871 revolution. On winning the lottery she plans a feast to mark the centenary of the sisters' father, bringing a dimension of fine living into the lives of the God-fearing Lutherans and healing festering personal animosities in the process.
Director Gabriel Axel captures the rugged timelessness of the Jutland landscape, and draws inspired performances from Stéphane Audran as Babette, and Bodil Keyer and Birgitte Federspiel as the sisters Filippa and Martine. Per Norgard's sparse but affecting score captures the mood of the film perfectly. Altogether it's a heart-warming and affecting experience.
On the DVD: Babette's Feast on disc reproduces the vivid colour photography well in widescreen. Theres dubbing and subtitles in English, French and Italian. Both the trailers for the English- and Danish-speaking markets are included, the latter an effective summary of the film.--Richard Whitehouse
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Top Customer Reviews
In some ways the least interesting character is Babette herself. Her character is certainly the least developed, and her last scene verges on soupiness - but just keeps to the right side. The general, on the other hand, is marvellously written and acted. His scene with Martine (whom he has loved, but never visited, for many decades) is deeply touching, and just captures the feeling of warmth after a sublime banquet.
The speech that he makes while the 'cailles en sarcophage' are served is the crux of the film: physical pleasure (eating, he means), when the food is good enough, is just like spiritual pleasure, or love. This shocks his puritan fellow diners, who were initially worried about the sin of a gluttonous banquet. But the banquet is art, not gluttony, and they feel the truth of what he says: the schisms and discord in the congregation vanish, and in the last sight we have of the villagers they are in a circle around the village well, under the stars, singing the same hymn they sung with the old pastor earlier in the film.
The cinematography is very good, and the Danish setting is as beautiful as they come. As for the sound, I think this film is much better in the original soundtrack with subtitles: the English dubbing has an unpleasant Disney quality. (The DVD has this feature, as well as notably better picture and sound quality).Read more ›
The woman is Babette Hersant - once a worshipped culinary chef in Café Anglais in Paris - and she bears a letter from an elderly French Opera Singer called Achille Papin. He has sent Babette to Denmark by boat to escape political rioting in the capitol city that has robbed her of everything including a husband. Papin visited the sisters when they were youthful beauties many decades back - and lost his heart to Filippa's angelic voice (words from a duet they sing in a clinch together titles this review). But because of fear and entrenched Christian beliefs - Filippa could not bear what their burgeoning love was doing to her soul - so she had her Pastor father send him away (and silence his singing). But Papin remembered her kindness too - so he has sent the broken Babette into their care.
14 years pass and Babette has now worked her way into the hearts of the kindly sisters, the local grocer and even the fishermen who can't pass off rancid meat or old fish on the food-knowledgeable Babette. She even knows where the herbs are on the wild grass stretches that overlook the Sea.
Babette's only link with France is a lottery ticket a kind relative keeps renewing for her year after year. And one day she gets a letter - she's won 10,000 Francs.Read more ›
I would have much prefered a subtitled version and am still looking (in vain) for one.
Taking place in the 19th century, Martina and Phillipa are the beautiful daughters of a Lutheran pastor in a fishing village in northern Denmark. Their father started a religious sect which is very austere and pious. It emphasizes the "world to come" and preaches controlling the passions and appetites of this world. The two lovely daughters never attend balls or parties so the young men who wish to make their acquaintance must attend her father's church to eye the two beauties and speak to them. Two young men in particular fall in love with these ladies but it is not within their destinies to fulfull their desires. Officer Lorens Lowenhielm enters the scene when he is sent back by the Army to live in the palace with his wealthy Aunt for a time. He falls in love with Martina when he first sees her while riding on the hillside of the village when she is drawing water from the well. She chooses to live with her father rather than marry this handsome officer. Phillipa's soprano voice is heard by a French visitor to the village, Achilles Papin who performs opera on the stage in Paris. He approachers her father to offer Phillipa private voice lessons.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An old favourite, which I can now enjoy again. Far better quality than our original TV download many years ago.Published 6 months ago by rogercun
One of the best films ever made in any language. Truly communicates the sensual pleasure of fine dining.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer