Film Series: Life’s Banquet: Food in Films

In conjunction with the exhibition All Consuming: Art and Essence of Food, filmmaker and educator Joe Petricca assembles a buffet of films featuring the diverse aspects of life’s essential necessity. Food and drink feature in films in every which way: as a gesture of social status and wealth; as a dream that immigrants bring to a new country; as a way to share family heritage; to express gratitude; and, of course, as a means of survival.

Each film begins with an introduction by Petricca.

Free with Museum admission.

No reservations taken. The theater opens at 3:30 p.m. and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Babette’s Feast
still image from babette's feast

Babette’s Feast (1987), G

Directed by Gabriel Axel
Saturday, July 8, 4:30–6:15 p.m.

At once a rousing paean to artistic creation, a delicate evocation of divine grace and the ultimate film about food, the Oscar-winning Babette’s Feast is a deeply beloved treasure of cinema. Directed by Gabriel Axel and adapted from a story by Isak Dinesen, it is the lovingly layered tale of a French housekeeper with a mysterious past who brings quiet revolution in the form of one exquisite meal served to a circle of starkly pious villagers in late 19th-century Denmark. Babette’s Feast combines earthiness and reverence in an indescribably moving depiction of sensual pleasure that goes to your head like fine champagne.

In Danish, French and Swedish with English subtitles.

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image still from the last laugh

The Last Laugh (1924), NR

Directed by F. W. Murnau
Saturday, July 15, 4:30–6:00 p.m.

One of the crowning achievements of the German Expressionist movement, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s The Last Laugh (Der letzte Mann) stars Emil Jannings as an aging doorman whose happiness crumbles when he is relieved of the duties and uniform that has for years been the foundation of his happiness and pride. Through Jannings’s colossal performance, The Last Laugh becomes more than the plight of a single doorman, but a mournful dramatization of the frustration and anguish of the working class.

Silent with English intertitles.

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image from minari

Minari (2020), PG-13

Directed by Lee Isaac Chung
Saturday, July 22, 4:30–6:30 p.m.

A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother. Amid the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.

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image still from tortilla soup

Tortilla Soup (2001), PG-13

Directed by Maria Ripoll
Saturday, July 29, 4:30–6:15 p.m.

Three grown sisters, Maribel, Leticia and Carmen, try to cope and live with the fact that their father Martin, a veteran chef, is slowly losing his sense of taste. Martin has one simple rule: be at home for Sunday dinner. Attendance is mandatory and non-negotiable. A rift in the family develops when the sisters develop relationships and an obnoxious woman sets her sights on Martin’s affections.

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director agnes varda holding a video camera

The Gleaners and I (2000), NR

Directed by Agnès Varda
Saturday, August 5, 4:30–5:50 p.m.

In this idiosyncratic, self-reflexive documentary, French cinema icon Agnès Varda explores the world of modern-day gleaners: those living on the margins who survive by foraging for what society throws away. By turns playful, philosophical and subtly political, The Gleaners and I is a warmly human reflection on the contradictions of our consumerist world from an artist who, like her subjects, finds unexpected richness where few think to look.

In French with English subtitles.

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Babette’s Feast, © Janus Films; The Last Laugh, © Kino Lorber; Minari, A24/Photofest, © A24; Tortilla Soup, Samuel Goldwyn Company/Photofest, © Samuel Goldwyn Company, photo by Ann Johansson; The Gleaners and I, © Ciné Tamaris, Ciné Tamaris/Photofest