Babette's Feast

  • U
  • Gabriel Axel (1987)
  • Den (SUB)
  • 99 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
5 out of 5

This Danish film with a French star deservedly won the best foreign film Oscar and transcended the barriers of subtitles to capture the imagination of cinema-goers everywhere. Set in the 1870s, the story unfolds against the background of the grim Jutland peninsula, where two spinster sisters (Bodil Kjer, Birgitte Federspiel), daughters of the former pastor, continue his work in leading the religious sect he founded. Into their lives comes Babette (Stéphane Audran), seeking refuge from war-torn Paris, who becomes their housekeeper. Her presence gradually effects changes in the austere community, culminating in a magnificent feast that she cooks 14 years later, which serves as a profoundly cathartic event in the lives of all. Faithfully and brilliantly adapted by director Gabriel Axel from the story by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), this highly original and deeply poignant tale, leavened with well-judged humour, is that rare thing - a perfect work. It is exquisitely acted, with Audran - no stranger to dinner tables in the films of her husband Claude Chabrol - glowing at the centre. The film began something of a vogue for food as an emblem of love in the cinema, but nothing has equalled it. Resist it if you can.

Plot Summary

Two sisters pass up the chance of romance to enjoy a quiet life in their small Danish village, turning to religion as old age draws near - but their lives are changed for ever when they take a Parisian refugee into their care. Oscar-winning Danish drama, starring Stephane Audran, Jean-Philippe Lafont and Bodil Kjer.

Cast and crew

Cast

Babette Hersant
Stéphane Audran
Achille Papin
Jean-Philippe Lafont
Young Lorenz Lowenhielm
Gudmar Wivesson
Old Lorenz Lowenhielm
Jarl Kulle
Swedish court lady-in-waiting
Bibi Andersson
Young Philippa
Hanne Stensgaard
Young Martina
Vibeke Hastrup
Old Philippa
Bodil Kjer
Narrator (Danish version)
Ghita Norby

Crew

Director
Gabriel Axel

Other Information

Language: 
Danish +subtitles
Colour
Theatrical distributor: 
BFI
Available on video, DVD and BluRay
Released 14 Dec 2012
Certificate U
Categories
Drama

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