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Babette's Feast (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

4.8 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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 cinematic treasure. Directed by Gabriel Axel and adapted from a story by Isak Dinesen, this is the layered tale of a French housekeeper with a mysterious past who brings quiet revolution in the form of one exquisite meal to a circle of starkly pious villagers in late nineteenth-century Denmark. BABETTE'S FEAST combines earthiness and reverence in an indescribably moving depiction of pleasure that goes to your head like fine champagne.

Special Features

  • New 2K digital film restoration, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio
  • New interview with actor Stephane Audran
  • Karen Blixen: Storyteller, a 1995 documentary about the author
  • New visual essay by filmmaker Michael Almereyda
  • New interview with sociologist Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Mark Le Fanu

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Stéphane Audran, Jarl Kulle, Jean-Philippe Lafont, Bibi Andersson, Vibeke Hastrup
    • Directors: Gabriel Axel
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: Danish, French, Swedish
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      General Audience
    • Studio: Criterion Collection
    • DVD Release Date: July 23, 2013
    • Run Time: 103 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00CEIOH9G
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,264 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Babette's Feast (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By Douglas Coleman on April 18, 2013
    Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
    I have been waiting for a quality release of Babette's Feast for several years, and now my wish has been wonderfully granted! With newly restored video and audio, along with a new English subtitle translation, Babette's Feast has finally gotten the attention this wonderful film deserves!

    For those who do not know, this is the story of a French housekeeper in a remote Danish village. She works for two sisters who live together, the daughters of the founder of a fundamentalist religious sect. When Babette learns she has won a great deal of money she decides to celebrate with a feast for the members of the sect. This feast provides the setting for the great contrasts the movie explores: asceticism versus indulgence, grace versus law, friendship versus suspicion, mercy versus righteousness. At the wonderful hospitality of Babette's table we experience not only great food but also the way that these contrasts might live in harmony. We experience, in other words, the miracle that men and women might learn to dwell together in peace and love through the simple acts of giving, sacrifice, and the choice to enjoy life.

    This is a feast for the eyes as well as the heart. Enjoy the meal!

    This Blu-Ray release includes the following features (taken from the Criterion Collection webpage):
    -New 2K digital film restoration, with 2.
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    Format: Blu-ray
    THIS IS NOT a movie about food. It is not a movie about religion either, although the story revolves around a pair of sisters who belong to a strict, Puritanical sect.

    "It's true that food is important, but there's a nourishment in a spiritual sense," actress Stéphane Audran, who plays Babette, says in the 2012 interview on this new Criterion edition.

    It is "a film that advocates love from start to finish," director/scriptwriter Gabriel Axel agrees in his 2013 interview. For him, the most important thing was to capture Karen Blixen's voice.

    Who is Karen Blixen? She is the woman who wrote the story published in 1950 under the pen name Isak Dinesen. Axel says the charming fable was recommended by his wife. But, when he tried to get financing for making it, he was roundly turned down.

    It took over 15 years - and seven Oscar wins for a movie about Dinesen, "Out of Africa," (1985) - before producers agreed to finance "Babette's Feast." Shot in Jutland in Denmark, it became an Oscar winner for 1988 Best Foreign Film and just about every other classy international award that year.

    The story takes place in a bleak coastal village, where two aging sisters, Martine (Birgitte Federspiel) and Fillipa (Bodil Kjer), care for the remainder of their minister father's elderly and quarrelsome followers. Both were beauties in their younger years, and, through flashbacks, we see how both gave up marriage opportunities to stay with their father.

    Skip ahead 35 years and we find the minister has passed on. One evening, a woman appears at the door with a letter from one of the former suitors. Babette is a refugee from the French civil war (Hello, fans of "Les Misérables," 2012); she needs a home.
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    Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
    In the old story "The Tortoise And The Hare" you probably remember that the tortoise, despite all odds and all expectations, wins the race. "Babette's Feast" is like that story. It's slow (but never boring), it's plodding (but never tedious), it's intentional (but never obvious). Filming a classic Danish short-story about a religious order whose piety stops just short of becoming a cult, centering on the two unmarried daughters of the group's long-deceased founder, whose decades-long compassion is only outdone by their ability to turn bread and fish into an edible stew, and including a mysterious houseguest and then friend, whose secret when revealed will not only stun, but bless, is no doubt easier said than done. But it's all magically pulled off in this beautiful film.

    When I first read this short-story by author Karen Blixen-Isak Dinesen in the 1970s I loved it. When I first heard the short-story read aloud on cassette tape by Colleen Dewhurst in the 1980s I loved it. When I first saw the short-story on film in 1987 by director Gabriel Alex I loved it. And now, what a joy it is to see this Academy Award winning film on BluRay Disc, in glorious high definition, and with new and improved subtitles. My VHS tape copy of this film is the only one I couldn't bring myself to pass onto Goodwill through the years -- even though it's been years since I've owned a VCR. But now it can go.

    The story begins long ago when the two daughters of the man who founded this religious order (no sign of their mother) were young women -- and then it picks up much later, when the interwoven stories of their faith, their daily lives, and their loves come back full-circle in ways that lead more to gratitude than to regret.
    Read more ›
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