Archive for FOOD IN CINEMA

Good-bye, Nora Ephron

Having been huge fans of her work pretty much since her work first began, we are taking the passing of Nora Ephron pretty hard. From Heartburn to Silkwood to Harry & Sally to This Is My Life to the amazing Julie and Julia to Love, Loss, and What I Wore – we were captivated, charmed, obsessed and inspired by her poignant, witty writing and subsequent directing and playwriting. Our friend and collaborator, the wonderful food stylist, Susan Spungen (of Julie and Julia provenance, pictured above with her French onion soup) was with us on set the day the news of Ms. Ephron’s passing broke. And she shared a story of the two of them first bonding over a coconut layer cake that Susan had done for an early cover of Martha Stewart Living – a sweet and simple story, which brought tears to our eyes. A funny feminist and a real “foodie” before there even was such a word, we feel like Nora Ephron was truly in our tribe. But, of course, that’s how everybody feels. And that is why she and her wonderful work will be so sorely missed.

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El Bulli: Cooking in Progress

© Alive Mind Cinema, 2011

This documentary about famed Spanish Chef and food provocateur, Ferran Adrià and his legendary El Bulli (now, sadly shuttered) just blew our minds. Creative to the point of “avant garde” as Adrià puts it, this food is not for everyone. And much of it seems less like food than science. But it is definitely art. And watching this documentary about the creation and coming to life of one of the last season’s menus of what many called “the greatest restaurant in the world” is completely engaging. The personalities alone in that kitchen are worth the trip. Our favorite quote from the film: Ferran Adrià to his sommelier – “Our problem is, there are a thousand combinations. At the moment, the taste doesn’t matter to us. That comes later. At the moment, what matters is whether something is magical, and whether it opens up a new path. And later, in the restaurant, the dishes are created. Constructed. Now it’s more research and there is more research with creativity.” Simply riveting.

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Christmas in Connecticut

© Warner Brothers Pictures, 1945

This 1945 Warner Brother’s Picture is a real charmer, starring Barbara Stanwyk as a very single bachelorette food writer living in a New York City apartment. Her character can barely boil water, but somehow manages to steal ideas from her restaurant chef friend (played by the wonderful S.Z. Sakall) in order to write a popular Martha Stewart-esque column about being the “perfect suburban housewife.” She finally ends up getting trapped her in her own web at Christmastime when she must try to cover her deception after her boss and a coincidentally devilishly handsome returning war hero invite themselves to her “home” in Connecticut for a traditional family Christmas. She’s forced to fake her way through being a super mom, super chef and all around country homemaker to keep her job and the man of her dreams who has, of course, suddenly appeared, Hollywood-style, on her pretend Connecticut doorstep – super adorable holiday-fare!

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New York Times Magazine Food and Drink Issue

photos: Brad Swonetz for The New York Times, m&j, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (1832) and Marcus Nilsson for The New York Times

This New York Times Magazine was read from cover to cover before either of our heads had even hit the pillows on Saturday night – such a great issue full of so many interesting tips, recipes, factoids and wonderful opinions by our favorite food writers. Some highlights; last supper wishes from a famous few, how breakfast has evolved through the ages, the party planning menu matrix, food in art, literature, cinema and the many musings of Michael Pollan, Amanda Hesser, Sam Sifton, Mark Bittman, Mimi Sheraton, Maud Newton, Bill Buford and Eric Asimov … seriously just too much to get into – plus an interview with Mad Men creator, Matthew Weiner, to boot! This one’s a keeper.

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Florent: Queen of the Meat Market

© Magic Lantern Entertainment, 2010

We do so miss this downtown icon – with a party-like atmosphere and reliably tasty, relaxed French fare that was open 24 hours a day for pretty much our entire adult lives in New York. We started coming with large, rollicking groups of old and new friends back in our twenties when we first arrived in New York City after college. This was a restaurant where many a buttery grilled cheese sandwich, sumptuous French onion soup and frothy chocolate milk replete with the requisite paper straws were enjoyed after 3:00 am. Thank you for this documentary, David Sigal – it brings back some delicious memories!

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HBO’s Mildred Pierce

® HBO Films, 2011

We love a tasty tabletop sequence and Tod Haines has begun this stunning new  HBO mini series with quite a doozy – all propped out with period 1930s kitchenware and chocolate cake and lemon meringue pies looking quite pretty and delicious – thank you HBO, once again, for your amazing taste in film!

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eat drink man woman

®The Samuel Goldwyn Company

The opening scene in Ang Lee’s 1994 film is a collection of some of the most beautiful and interesting food sequences we’ve ever seen – we cannot stop watching this one!

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