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Babette's Feast (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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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.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medG G (General Audience)
- Product Dimensions : 6.9 x 5.45 x 0.45 inches; 8 Ounces
- Item model number : 2277
- Director : Gabriel Axel
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Run time : 1 hour and 43 minutes
- Release date : July 23, 2013
- Actors : Stéphane Audran, Jarl Kulle, Jean-Philippe Lafont, Bibi Andersson, Vibeke Hastrup
- Subtitles: : English
- Studio : Criterion Collection
- ASIN : B00CEIOH9G
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #35,999 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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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. Yes it's slow, but to tell this story any other way would be like trying to make a souffle in a Suzy Homemaker Easy Bake Oven. And even though in the old story, the tortoise won the race, in this short-story and film, the tortoise also gets turned into a delicious soup! I guess you can't win them all. Eat some Danish crepes, pour yourself some good, strong, black Danish coffee, and then watch this film! You will be glad you did.
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 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
-New interview with actor Stéphane Audran
-Karen Blixen: Storyteller, a 1995 documentary about the author of the film's source story, who wrote under the pen name Isak Dinesen
-New visual essay by filmmaker Michael Almereyda
-New interview with sociologist Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson about the significance of cuisine in French culture
-New and improved English subtitle translation
-PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Mark Le Fanu and Dinesen's 1950 story
(Edit and Update)
Having now received and seen the Criterion Bluray, I can say with all excitement that this is exactly what I'd hoped it would be! Babette's Feast shines with the Criterion treatment, with the picture, sound, and extras (including the packaging) everything you might expect from them. This is a quality release of a movie that continues to charm me.
Top reviews from other countries
The film is a slow burn. Hollywood action movie fans save your money, this is not for you.
Are there any big questions of life left? If the meanings of success, fame, humility and service are still for some the big questions,
then Babette's Feast will always be a treasure for seekers to discover.