Sunday, September 23, 2007

Why I have been trying out new recipes


A couple of Sundays ago at the dinner table I made the unfortunate error of recommending and sharing detailed insights about my new fav movie, Babette’s Feast. Because of the mockery suffered at the hands of JLW and B Gomer, I am reluctant to ‘cast my pearls before swine’ as it were and share my intense love for this movie publicly in my blog, but my feelings are such that I can no longer remain silent. I must recommend it to you all, no matter the risk I take in experiencing further ridicule and taunting. What can I say, some people are nincompoops.

Anyway, this movie. I cannot say enough about it as it is meaningful on so many levels such as what it means to be an artist, making choices, etc and of course, through it all run strong, powerful references to Christ.

The Christology in this film is very hard to miss and I view the story as one mostly about grace. How hard it is for people to accept it, recognize it for just how wonderful it is, or even appreciate the fact that it is offered for free and yet cost the giver everything she/He had.

This movie is in Danish (with some French sprinkled in as Babette is afterall from France) with English subtitles. The performances are superb and give new meaning to the word acting. Did I mention I love, love this film?

And just so you don’t think I am just blowing ‘artsy fartsy’ smoke, it comes highly recommended from other church members as well.

Truman Madsen said:
We watched this film years ago in the presence of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. He has written what for me is one of the clearest and most in-reaching talks ever given on the relationship of souls, symbols and sacraments. He helped me see this story as an elaborate metaphor of what the scriptures call the wedding supper ”or the marriage supper” of the Lamb. Jesus, does indeed, liken the kingdom of heaven to a wedding feast. He calls the church His bride. And when she is adorned as a bride, He, as the Bridegroom, will come in triumphal reunion. To this consummating feast the poor and the meek of the earth will be invited. It will be a feast of feasts.

You can read the rest of the talk at: http://ce.byu.edu/cw/womensconference/archive/1999/madsen_truman.htm

The story also illustrates in an unusually poignant way that lives can be transformed by sharing a meal.

Babette, once a renowned chef in Paris, fled to the Jutland coast in 1870 to escape the fighting in France. She served as chef and housekeeper for two sisters in a tiny fishing village whose inhabitants were members of a devout religious sect.

Each of the twelve who gathers for Babette’s feast is in some way troubled about choices they have made in the past: loves they have lost, roads they have not taken.

As one character puts it, We tremble before making our choice in life, and after having made it again tremble in fear of having chosen wrong.

Nevertheless, as Babette cooks and serves her feast, the food and wine become a means of grace to the troubled souls gathered around the table.

Each feels embraced by life and comforted by the company of friends.

Babette’s Feast is based on Isak Dinesen’s short story (which I found on the internet btw), which sums up the effect of the feast in this way:

Of what happened later in the evening nothing definite can here be stated. None of the guests later on had any clear remembrance of it. They only knew that the rooms had been filled with a heavenly light, as if a number of small halos had blended into one glorious radiance. Taciturn old people received the gift of tongues; ears that for years had been almost deaf were opened to it. Time itself had merged into eternity. Long after midnight the windows of the house shone like gold, and golden song flowed out into the winter air.

Every time I watch this film I weep. It inspires me, on so many levels. I would love it if at my table those who supped there found strength and warmth even if all we are having is Sloppy Joes. Good things can happen to families and individuals who make time for rituals that attend to our need for nourishment. Maybe this is because what we find in our communion around a table is sustenance that nourishes not only our bodies, but our souls as well. Geez, I wanna be Babette when I grow up.

Yeah, okay. You get it. I really, really liked this film. I am certain that you will too, that is the non-nincompoops will. It ‘s a BM club choice.

See it. I can think of very few films that are more spiritual in depth and scope.

3 comments:

Lacy E. (as in Eloise, formerly Lee) said...

I saw this a while ago on your recommendation and did enjoy it immensely. Also, it solved a long-time childhood mystery. Right before Babette comes to shore with the goods for her feast, I was telling Dave how I remembered watching a foreign film with my parents where they ate turtles and scary-looking chicks and I'd always wanted to see the film as an adult but didn't know what it was called. Then, low and behold, Babette serves just such delicacies! It was classic closure.

Kodyboy said...

Yesterday, the Packers upset the highly-favored San Diego Chargers 31-24 to improve to 3-0. I felt reading your blog that many of your comments seemed to be directed towards the game...

"Every time I watch this [game] I weep. It inspires me, on so many levels."

"Good things can happen to families and individuals who make time for rituals that attend to our need for nourishment [like Packers games]. Maybe this is because what we find in our communion around [the TV on Sunday] is sustenance that nourishes not only our bodies, but our souls as well."

"I can think of very few [game]films that are more spiritual in depth and scope."

Yes, this weekend my mind, body and spirit were all nourished and well-fed. Ah, it's a beautiful life...

cs arnett said...

Pretty clever, Kodyboy. But as clever and funny as you are, oh wise one, you have now just joined the ranks of the other nincompoops. there is no comparision between artistic excellence and a bunch of big necked sweaty men butting heads and giving hiney taps.