Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Food" Movies without Food

In our search for the greatest “food” movies ever made—or maybe simply for the films featuring the most delicious meals—we came across a number of pictures whose titles hinted at the presence of food yet, when we viewed them, we discovered that they didn’t include food at all. One of these “food” movies without food is Breakfast on Pluto.

Patrick “Kitten” Braden: And the other thing about the Phantom Lady was, Bert, she realized, in the city that never sleeps….
Bertie: What did she realize, Kitten?
Patrick “Kitten” Braden: That all the songs she’d listened to, all the love songs, that they were only songs.
Bertie: What’s wrong with that?
Patrick “Kitten” Braden: Nothing, if you don’t believe in them. But she did, you see. She believed in enchanted evenings, and she believed that a small cloud passed overhead and cried down on a flower bed, and she even believed there was breakfast to be had…
Bertie: Where?
Patrick “Kitten” Braden: On Pluto. The mysterious, icy wastes of Pluto.

Breakfast on Pluto is a funny, moving film about a young Irish man named Patrick who is abandoned on the doorstep of the parish rectory when just an infant. Placed with a foster family, he discovers his transgender identity at a very young age and runs away from home to escape his family’s and neighbors’ disapprobation. A series of “adventures” leads him to have an affair with the lead singer of a rock band, to run afoul of the Irish Republican Army, to work as a magician’s assistant, to flee to London where he is arrested as a terrorist, to befriend a police officer who finds him a job in a peep show, to be “found” and taken in by the father who never admitted his paternity, and—finally—to find the mother who had fled to London to escape the shame of unwed motherhood in Catholic Ireland. But there are only the briefest glimpses of breakfast food in the movie.

Released January 13, 2006
Written by Neil Jordan (writer) and Pat McCabe (novel)
Directed by Neil Jordan
Starring Cillian Murphy as Patrick “Kitten” Braden, Liam Neeson as Father Liam, Ruth Negga as Charlie, Laurence Kinlan as Irwin, Brendan Gleeson as John Joe Kenny, Stephen Rea as Bertie, Gavin Friday as Billy Hatchett, and Eva Birthistle as Eily Bergin
Awards: 2007 Irish Film and Television Awards for Best Actor in a Lead Role in a Feature Film (Cillian Murphy), Best Director (Neil Jordan), Best Hair & Make-Up for Film (Lorraine Glynn and Lynn Johnson), Best Script for Film (Neil Jordan and Pat McCabe); 2006 Ljubljana International Film Festival Audience Award for Neil Jordan; 2005 National Board of Review, U.S.A. Special Recognition Award “For Excellence in Filmmaking”

Monday, June 16, 2008

"Noodle Western" or Uncategorizable?

How can one describe Tampopo? Is it, as some say, the "first noodle western"? A "humorous paean to the joys of food"? An "erotic food movie"? A "spoof of Japanese life"? Actually, it's a little bit of all of those, and more. The main plot concerns the widow Tampopo's desire to run a successful noodle bar, and her efforts to learn how to make the "perfect noodle soup." But there are many subtexts, from the eroticism of sharing food with one's beloved to a samurai-style showdown beneath the highway overpass. It's a wonderfully funny movie, with an incredible number and variety of dishes--several noodle soups, Peking duck, barbecued beef, rice omelets, sole meuniere, even spaghetti! We'll let our readers decide if we have indeed created the "perfect" noodle soup.