Tag Archives: film

Food and Film Combo Treats

It’s Foodie Tuesday!

A screen shot from the Japanese movie, "Tampopo"

I think we can agree that food is more than mere biological necessity, given the great pleasure we take in its creation as in its consumption. We enjoy food with all of our senses, sight, sound, smell, taste, touch — and with our whole being, body, mind, soul, and spirit. Food is not just food, a meal is not just about eating. Mealtimes cement relationships, and mark celebrations, and are inextricably chained to memories.

And when films are written around and about food, there truly is great magic — even when the film is Supersize Me.

The Toronto International Film Festival is well underway, and as we celebrate the art form that is film, let us take a look at what happens when film and food come together in a genre all its own…

Tampopo – 1985

The central character is a young widow named Tampopo, who is on a journey toward making great ramen. She’s a kind of Dorothy easing on down the yellow brick road to a culinary Emerald City. She is also accompanied by four friends who help and teach her, one of whom is played by a fresh-faced Ken Watanabe.

But equally riveting are a zillion little fascinating gastronomical vignettes woven into the film — some funny, some sweet and  touching, some sexy — but all very sensual and poetic.


God of Cookery – 1996

Food meets Kung Fu in this hilarious Stephen Chow classic. Watch soup, meat, and vegetables perform awesome, gravity-defying stunts. Who knew cooking can be so action-packed?


Babette’s Feast – 1987

Based on Karen Blixen’s (writing as Isak Dinesen) novella of the same title. The story takes place in such a cold, stark, gray setting, in a stark, staid, ascetic culture. A strange location for a feast, and the perfect foil for the grandeur and lavishness of French haute cuisine. It makes a startling allegorical statement about generosity, art,  joy, the mingling of physical and spiritual hungers and their satisfaction, the breathtakingly beautiful infinite breaking through the stale and finite.

Here are some clips and a short commentary by the New York Times’ A. O. Scott.


Ratatouille – 2007

Another notch in the belt for Pixar. An extremely well-put-together film about how talent and passion overcome obstacles, and that, seriously, “anyone can cook.”

Julie & Julia – 2009

Two of my favorite actresses portraying adorable foodies… Whoa, Momma! It’s actually two separate true stories from 2 different time periods, linked together by Julia Child’s passion for food and life extends beyond her own space and time and permeates another woman’s life. The two women’s stories are woven so seamlessly together so that it feels like one story. It’s such a sweet, charming, wonderfully crafted film.


Une affaire de Goût (A Question of Taste) – 2000

I’ve only seen this movie once, but it stayed with me, primarily because it is incredibly twisted and creepy, and it haunted me for a while.  But it is quite a fascinating puzzle that I was compelled to return to and ponder on. It’s about a food taster and his wealthy employer, but underneath all that food tasting is a story of power and possession, driven by some complex web of machinations and manipulations. Very exciting stuff.
Here’s a trailer, I think. Can’t find one with subtitles.


Waitress – 2007

Such a dark and funny film. What amazes me about Keri Russel’s character in this movie is how out of every sad situation and negative emotion, she can make a gorgeous scrumptious pie (e.g.”I Hate My Husband Pie,” “Pregnant, Self-Pitying Loser Pie”). So moral of the story: no matter how your life sucks, you can make something sweet out of it.


Ramen Girl – 2008

This movie reminds me of Tampopo, mainly because of the whole teacher-learner set-up. And because it’s set in Japan. And because of the centrality of ramen. Okay, it’s a lot like Tampopo. But it’s a totally different film. Story may be a tad loose at times but it’s actually a lot of fun to watch. Brittany Murphy’s character may seem like an airhead for so much of the film, but she manages to win you over so that you forgive her for it.


The Big Night – 1996

Long before Stanley Tucci played the pervy serial killer in The Lovely Bones, long before Tony Shalhoub become the nutty OCD sufferer Monk, they played dashing Italian brothers and restaurateurs in The Big Night. It’s an engaging slice-of-life film about passion, food and family, art, perfection, and compromise. It seeks to define success, but in the end leaves it up to the viewer.

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Valentines: A Return to Innocence

“The truth is, there’s gonna be other girls out there. I mean, I hope. But I’m never gonna get another first love. That one is always gonna be her.” –from Little Manhattan (2006)

Though a lot of us may laugh flippantly at our younger selves in the throes of puppy love, psychologist Nancy Kalish says that it’s serious and real–first love is real love. In an article about teenage love in Psychology Today, she even writes that it is a crucial moment in a person’s life, because it is then that life-long attitudes about love and self are formed.

We may have become ever-so-slightly-jaded, we may have lost our naivete, but in our gut we know this is true. We do recall the time when hand-holding was huge, and hearts really did go pitter-patter, and butterflies took permanent residence in the belly. There was giddy, intoxicating joy, alternating with beautiful, searing pain, just from the merest glance. It’s the whole world balanced on the head of this one particular pin. All very magical, but all very real. Very special.

The Lovers by Pablo Picasso

The Lovers by Picasso (image from ocaiw.com). There’s a freshness and artlessness about the romance here. See how gently and tenderly he holds her, and how shyly she puts her hand in his?

This Valentine’s, why not pay homage to your innocent, unrestrainedly enthusiastic self? Skip that supermarket greeting card rack and relive how painstakingly you crafted and glued the embellishments on that paper Valentine heart all those years ago. You can, again, carefully and deliberately inscribe on it your humble poetry, and present your creation nervously to the object of your affection.

Yes, having laid out your heart and your meager talents, you will feel scared and vulnerable. That’s part of the beauty of the experience. Perhaps this vulnerability will be the key to the most positive reception of your tribute.

Here are some simple yet potentially heart-melting ideas from Craft Bits to get you started.

Here’s a Valentine card I made myself, using one of the tips in the link above. Now, who to give this to?

Seriously Sexy Rooms

Photo of Sophia Loren via Full House

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner here are a few deliciously romantic rooms that are sure to get you in the mood for love. Whether you’re looking to add a little sex appeal to your master bedroom or some luxe touches to your living room, you’re sure to find some inspiration in these gorgeously stylish interiors.

via Rue Magazine

There is something so easy yet so inviting about this beautiful living room. Luxuriant curtains, perfect proportions and cultivated symmetry give this living room some amazing wow factor. This would be the perfect place for a late night rendezvous, or just lounging on a Sunday morning.

via Elle Decor

Leave it to fashion designer Anna Sui to create a room dripping with opulance and glamour. This photo is of her Manhattan apartment. Love the overload of pattern and the glossy black furniture.

via desire to inspire

This bathroom has my heart going pitter-patter. The muted pink claw-foot tub is simply beautiful and all the faded wood is so cosy and romantic. I can’t imagine a more perfect place for bubble baths for two.

via The Paris Apartment

I think I’ve found one of my new favourite design inspiration blogs, The Paris Apartment has me dreaming of a romantic Parisian getaway. Now if Cupid could just send a couple plane tickets my way I would be forever in his debt.

Dylan Thomas via The Paris Apartment

Old world charm and simple feminine touches are what make this room so dreamy. Who would have thought an old faded rug and a tattered chair could be so sexy? Great decorating tip to take from this bedroom is to hang something silky and luxurious like a negligee or antique dress on a wall or over a piece of furniture; instant boudoir glamour!

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Out and About in Toronto this Weekend

Carlos Granados-Ocon's work tiled on the wall

Courtesy Carlos Granados-Ocon via tumblr.com

If you haven’t seen Carlos Granados-Ocon’s visual art exhibit They Told You at the Gladstone Hotel’s Art Bar, this weekend is your last chance.  Delving into determinism and free will, They Told You is a culmination of the artist’s work during his stay in Seoul, Korea.  Beautiful stuff and dynamic prints that will make you think.  More info on the show and the artist available on the Gladstone’s site.  Admission is free!

Douglas Fairbanks in the "The Thief of Bagdad"

Image courtesy of The Revue Cinema

Just down the street, The Revue Cinema brings you another instalment of  Silent Sunday’s on January 16th.  This time around The Revue presents Douglas Fairbanks in the swashbuckling fantasy “The Thief of Bagdad”.  With live piano accompaniment, you must see this silent-era film as it was meant to be screened.   Much fun indeed.  Hop on over to the Revue’s site for ticket info.

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7 Films You Can Hang as Art

Gone are the days of bulky, boxy TVs. Slim, sleek models are the standard now, and manufacturers try to outdo one another not just in technology, but also in aesthetic appeal. One of the features in these sets is that you can mount them on your walls, and thus they are more than ever able to integrate into the design of the space.

But the thing is, a black rectangle is just no fun on the wall. It isn’t art; it isn’t worthy to be framed. So fill that screen with any of these 7 awesome films! Each one is so gorgeously made that each frame is a truly visual feast. Pick one that goes well with your room, pop in the disc and hit play. Whether you let it run on or randomly freeze a frame, you’ve got art on your wall.

1. Amelie – 2001 – Jean-Pierre Jeunet

This movie has a beautiful, dreamy atmosphere of saturated reds and greens. It’s a charming, feel-good story filled with quirky characters, delightful montages, and bright splashes of vibrant colors.

Watch this film clip and imagine it playing in this room.

Predominantly white room with red and mint green accents

image from blog.hgtv.com

2. Hero (Ying Xiong) – 2002 – Zhang Yimou

Apart from the mind-blowing, Rashomon-like plot line, Hero features breath-taking photographyand thrilling and elegant fight sequences

Wall-mounted TV

3. In the Mood for Love – 2000 – Wong Kar Wai

This one is heady like wine. Wong Kar Wai’s images of 1962 Hong Kong are intoxicating, his pacing languid, keeping the viewer tantalized and teased by the story’s unconsummated romance.

Gold, red and white room, lit with yellow light

4. Dreams – 1990 – Akira Kurosawa

Before What Dreams May Come, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Inception (all wall-worthy films, by the way), there was Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams in 1990. It is a series of 8 short films filled with visions bizarre, rich, and pregnant with hidden meanings and symbols—just what you would expect of… well, dreams.

This clip’s from the segment entitle Crows, and is about a man who walks right into the world of Van Gogh’s paintings, and meets the artist himself, played by Martin Scorcese.

Top view of a den or living room

image courtesy of static-romance.org

5. The Fountain – 2006 – Darren Aronofsky

Apart from the beauteous cast (I mean, who wouldn’t want to gorge on Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz?), there are worlds and eras to see in The Fountain. The story spans centuries into the past and into the future, but the visual elements remain transcendent and glorious.

Den with wood and stone elements

from www.roomu.net

6. Sin City – 2005 – Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino

Every scene is a comic book frame here—high contrast, action laden, dramatically composed. This movie is so stylized and so stylish, even the really violent parts look awesomely artsy.

Artsy black and white room with wooden flooring

7. The Matrix Trilogy – the 1999-2003

What would the last turn of the century be without The Matrix? It defined an era in filmmaking, with its consciousness-altering premise, slick and polished special effects, and coronary-inducing fight sequences. This film trilogy offers hours and hours of spectacular visual stimuli.

Modern room with warm accents

image from contemporist.com

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