‘Babette’s Feast’

A dour Danish religious community becomes the home of a French refugee in the late 1800s. Babette Hersant, wanting little, volunteers to become the servant to the ageing daughters of the village’s late pastor.

Fleeing Paris and the ravages of the Franco-Prussian War, Babette (Stéphane Audran – The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Les biches) takes refuge in coastal Denmark and the home of Filippa and Martine. Both sisters had the opportunity of escaping the drudgery of denial and poverty, but each remained to support their father. Years after his death, Babette arrives – and remains. On the 100th anniversary of the pastor’s birth, Babette offers a meal, the likes of which have never been seen in the remote village.

A bleak meander of a narrative centred around worship and faith slowly builds to a delightful gastronomic blow-out from director Gabriel Axel (Den røde kappe, Christian), adapted from a short story by Karen Blixen. It takes it’s time, but once the few guests begin to arrive at the tiny cottage, Babette’s Feast and its celebration of creativity is a joy.

Winner of the 1988 Oscar for best foreign language film.

Rating: 71%


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