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Babette's Feast [VHS] [1987]

4.5 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews

Dispatched from and sold by hessleoldbooks.
£22.87 Only 1 left in stock - order soon. Dispatched from and sold by hessleoldbooks.

Product details

  • Actors: Stéphane Audran, Bodil Kjer, Birgitte Federspiel, Jarl Kulle, Jean-Philippe Lafont
  • Directors: Gabriel Axel
  • Writers: Gabriel Axel, Karen Blixen
  • Producers: Benni Korzen, Bo Christensen, Just Betzer, Karen Bentzon, Pernille Siesbye
  • Format: VHS
  • Language: Danish, French, Swedish
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Odyssey
  • VHS Release Date: 13 July 1998
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CI66
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 300,116 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Writer/director Gabriel Axel's Oscar-winning film is set in 19th-century Denmark. Babette (Stéphane Audran), a chef and refugee from France's civil war, finds herself in a remote Danish hamlet working for two sisters who preside over its inhabitants. The sisters were brought up under the strict regime of their devout father who preached salvation through self-denial and have kept his teachings going even after his death. But Babette's arrival is set to change the status quo when she cooks a sumptuous meal for the sisters and their friends.

From Amazon.co.uk

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. There’s 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Barry HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 April 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
It's September 1871 in a remote part of Jutland in Denmark - and on a rain-sodden night - a young French woman dressed in hooded garb knocks on the door of elderly sisters Martine and Filippa. The serenely beautiful ladies live frugally and quietly in tiny houses high above the cliffs in a deeply Christian Community - generously feeding the elderly of the flock every single day with hot food culled from their basic cooking skills.

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.
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Format: DVD
This is my favourite film. It oozes humanity and love, but not to overflowing: there is no glossing-over of life's injustices and problems. Most importantly, it never loses its sense of humour. In fact the major success of the film is to let us laugh at the characters but not to undermine them. It is delightfully funny to see characters being their usual selves - conceited, puritan or over-romantic - but the funniness isn't malicious.
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).
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
fine
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excellent film but it wasn't obvious that it was English sub titles
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By schumann_bg TOP 50 REVIEWER on 2 Jan. 2013
Format: DVD
Having just seen this film again in the cinema, for the first time since its VHS incarnation, it strikes me as still being the ultimate film about food. Never has the culinary art been represented with such grace and succulence as here, not even in Julie and Julia. This is partly down to the warming of the tonal palette at this stage of the film, and also its pacing - everything has been quite austere up to this point, but then suddenly it becomes a sensual delight, a kind of gastronomic equivalent of a street parade, where one just gazes in wonder at the ever more extraordinary creations. It also has to do with Stephane Audran, at least for the grace part, as she adds a note of sheer elegance with her amazing bearing and features, both finely etched and full of humanity. Apparently the role was initially offered to Catherine Deneuve (see wikipedia!), but much as I love Deneuve I think Audran is just right, and furthermore she was always trying to cook a meal in The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie 17 years earlier, and failing, so it's nice to see her succeed here with such style! The film is brilliant in other visual aspects too - the two sisters are perfectly cast in their slightly timid kindness and purity, the interiors make wonderful scenes reminiscent of Dutch - or Danish - genre painting in their careful composition and beautiful light, and the kitchen boy carrying in a board of fruit looks as if he might easily have been intercepted by Caravaggio, while offsetting the elderly guests poignantly. Babette's treatment of him and the coachman adds a further dimension of kindness to her role, and discipline too ...

Where I think it falls a little short is if you compare it to The Dead, which forms a parallel to it in so many ways.
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