I thought for today’s post I would begin a Friday feature on good films – in case you might be seeking something good to watch over your weekend. You can find other films I have reviewed by clicking on the “films” button. Here is my first pick…
“In this beautiful world of ours, all things are possible”
General Lorens Lowenheim
Most of us have a movie that if called upon, we would say it is a favorite and that definitely, it should be enjoyed by others. For me, one of my favorites is a Danish film called “Babette’s Feast”. Filmed in 1987, it received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film in that year. The film has English subtitles and while it is in Danish, it is easy to follow. It comes by way of a short story by Isak Dinesen, probably made more famous in the U.S. through the film “Out of Africa” – the role of Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen is portrayed in the film by Meryl Streep. If you have seen this film as well, you might recall that she was portrayed as a great storyteller, and the story of Babette is proof of this.
The story is set on the Denmark coast in the mid-1850s and focuses upon a small village which is led by a charismatic pastor whose ministry emphasizes denial of the self; his two lovely daughters, Martine and Philippa (named for Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon), and his small church. When young, the daughters have suitors, but the father emphasizes that he needs the young women to continue the work of the ministry. We see the daughters while they are young and again, as they have aged, taking their father’s place in leading this little group of believers.
On a stormy night, a woman appears on the sisters’ doorstep and is invited in. She bears a letter from the former suitor of one sister, asking if they might consider taking the woman in, as her family has been killed in the French civil war and she has had to flee. The sisters take in Babette and she chooses to stay and to serve them.
I risk giving away too much of the story in the telling. The story has much to say about friendship, honor, service, art …and heaven. It speaks of making a life – in giving up things and gaining unexpected ones. It is a “quiet” film but one that I think you will reflect on after it is over.
APU Libraries has a copy of this wonderful film in the Marshburn Library.