Criterion Collection, seemingly one of the last bastion of good tastes on the DVD/Blu-ray front, is releasing Babette's Feast . The 1987 Danish drama, directed by Gabriel Axel, follows the story of a mysterious housekeeper who changes the lives of the people in a small village with one sumptuous meal. The new Criterion release includes digital film restoration, new interview with the director and actor Stéphane Audran, new English subtitle translation and more.
Babette's Feast got us to thinking about some of our other favorite food films. Here are the top five. (Before anyone complains, yes, Like Water for Chocolate is not on the list; we're a bit tired of the story. We're going to let Chocolat represent the magical realism genre on our list.)
5. Jiro Dreams of Sushi First up is the 2011 documentary by David Gelb, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Gelb and his crew follow the world-famous 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono, the owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Michelin three-star restaurant set in a subway station.
4. Julie & Julia Nora Ephron's 2009 comedy is actually two movies in one. One stars Amy Adams as a modern woman blogging about her experiences as she tries to replicate the recipes from Julia Child's famous cookbook. The other stars Meryl Streep as Julia Child who goes from discovering her love for French food, training as a chef and launching her first book. We love Amy Adams, but Streep steals the show (as usual).
3. Chocolat Lasse Hallström's 2000 film stars Juliette Binoche as Vianne, a chocolatier who faces off with a pious, pompous town leader (Alfred Molina) when he bans her chocolate during Lent. Johnny Depp is the handsome gypsy that captures Vianne's heart. Binoche and Depp sizzle on screen.
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2. Eat Drink Man Woman Ang Lee's first critical and box office success was this 1994 Taiwanese film starring Sihung Lung, Yu-wen Wang and Chien-lien Wu. The story follows a father who tries to keep his family together with extravagant Sunday dinners. his three daughters use the dinners to drop bombshell after bombshell about their break with traditional Chinese culture.
1. The Big Night Stanley Tucci slaved over this film the same way that his character did over his meals. Tucci stars, co-directs and co-writes the enchanting story of two brothers, partners in a fledgling restaurant, who go all out on one dinner to impress a critic in an effort to save their business. Tony Shalhoub stars as the other brother with Minnie Driver and Isabella Rossellini as the women who love them.