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Monday, August 26, 2013

Babette's Feast (1987) d. Gabriel Axel

Babette, of Babette's Feast fame

Movie Review
Babette's Feast (1987)
d. Gabriel Axel
Criterion Collection #665
Release Date:: July 23rd, 2013

  Babette's Feast exists at the edge of my memory, likely because I watched Siskel & Ebert review it on their PBS show "At the Movies."  In 1987 I was 9 years old, so I know I didn't watch Babette's Feast in the theater or on television.  But I know I saw their review of it.  So many of the Criterion Collection titles were old before I was born it is interesting to watch a film that came out within my lifetime (and isn't part of their curious obsession with Michael Bay)

  Like other Danish films that I've watched but yet to review here, Babette's Feast takes places in a rural village where all the people are stoked on God.  It's set in the mid to late 19th century, with a flash back that takes us back to 1850, and a major episode that happens 15 years before the titular feast of Babette.

  Like the films of the Don of Danish cinema, Carl Th. Dreyer, Babette's Feast has a lot to say about the austere, puritanical Christianity of rural Danes in the 19th century, but it Babette's Feast is more fun then any of Dreyers' films...by a wide margin.  There are moments of humor and frivolity, and a bonafide happy ending- so rare in Danish literature.

   Babette's Feast also turned me onto Jutland- which looks like a fun place for a visit, if you are into rural areas by the sea that are super quiet and depopulated.  The accouterments Criterion has already uploaded to the title page at their website already have a ton of resources if you intrigued.  Couples- this would be a good movie to watch together on a Friday night.  And of course fans of Danish cinema.  Which is everyone, I'm sure.

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