- 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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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.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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 ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The outcome is unexpected. I really like the props in this movie. It's quite realistic. The performance of all the actors is very realistic. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Clevela
An Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film, this is a wonderful slow burner that will warm the heart and inspire a deeper appreciation of the good things in life.Published 5 months ago by Mr. K. D. Mcilroy
Something of a cult film among the Chelsea set; this beautifully made but politically wrong film was very popular. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Dan Smith