Some of these food-themed movies might be hard to find, but they are totally worth the search, just like the perfect dessert.
EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN
Writer-director: Ang Lee
This 1994 Oscar-nominated movie is the story of a chef and his three daughters who live in Taipei. The father, a famous chef, has lost his taste buds. So, the food he cooks gives him no pleasure. How the daughters deal with their father’s fading culinary sensibilities makes for a subtle, amusing story highlighting that universal phenomenon: generation gap.
THE BIG NIGHT
Directors: Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott
Set in New Jersey in the 1950s, this little movie takes an intimate look at the immigrant struggle to attain the American Dream. A large, proud Italian family comes to America to open a bistro named The Paradise that serves the finest in traditional, authentic Italian cuisine. Rival restaurant Pascal’s plays the rascal in their efforts, serving mile-high servings of spaghetti and meatballs and flasks of bad Chianti at sky-high prices. The brothers, Primo and Secondo, can’t understand why Americans want cheap pasta instead of risotto. Then comes the Big Night: celebrated bandleader Louis Prima is travelling through and will dine at The Paradise that very night. Now what? Delectable fun, with a thought-provoking battle between Art and Commerce.
Think gourmet cinema, served with culinary panache. A New York eatery owner presides over a busy night of fine dining, while also trying to give up for good his mob entanglements. A sprinkling of characters is peppered across this simple story: His son is a nuovo cuisine genius, eager to inherit the business. The sous-chef is deeply in debt to mafia thugs. An art-dealer is vexing his waitress. A food critic is on the prowl, ready to pounce on the slightest wrong move. A charming stranger springs a surprise in the climax.With so much spice, the movie makes a zingy dish.
Director: Maria Ripoll
Possibly the best picturisation of food being prepared. Martin is a widowed chef who is losing both his sense of taste and control over his three daughters: Leticia, a religious schoolteacher; Carmen, a successful but unhappy businesswoman still carrying on an affair with her ex-boyfriend; and Maribel, a rebellious teen falling in love with a young Brazilian. When a pushy, nosy, but very sexy widow named Hortensia comes along, the troublesome subcurrents in the family start to surface. Martin’s angst anchors the story, while the three sisters have sex, eat delectable food, and break plates in the kitchen.
THE CHINESE FEAST (Hong Kong)
Director: Tsui Hark
Kit is a gangster looking to start a new life as a chef in Canada, so he can be closer to his girlfriend. But in his struggle to learn the fine art of cuisine, he runs across a red-headed beauty who will change his plans, and soon finds himself off in search of the retired master who can teach him how to win in the ultimate cooking challenge.
THE COOK THE THIEF THE WIFE & HER LOVER (France / Netherlands / UK)
Director: Peter Greenaway
A modern fable and political satire on the Thatcher years in Britain set at Le Hollandais, a gourmet restaurant. The wife of a barbaric crime boss engages in a secretive romance with a gentle bookseller between meals at her husband’s restaurant, all observed by the cook. This nightly display of opulence, decadence and gluttony leads to murder, torture and revenge.
Meet the Writer:
Babita Raikwar is a freelance writer. She believes in love, magic and babies.