Below please find our annotated food filmography, including animated films and documentaries. Each entry in the following list contains a hyperlink to the film’s page on the International Movie Database (IMDb). If the film is available in University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Media Resource Center, you will find a hyperlink to its page in the MRC database. Finally, you will find a brief synopsis of each title as it relates to food, and links to any student essays on the film. *Most of the entries marked with an asterisk were taken from anonymous contributor to the International Movie Database, and are in need of new food-centric synopses. This work is in progress, so if you can think of films that we have omitted, or if you would like to contribute an annotation, please do contact us and let us know!
Hirani. 2009, India. Three friends, Rancho, Raju, and Farhan, are college roommates who dream to become engineers. After witnessing tragedies occur to other students at the hands of their brutal principal, Virus, they become scared, until Rancho sparks confidence in the other two over a dinner at Virus’ daughters’ wedding. This inspiring moment over delicious food at Mona’s wedding propels the friends into following the dreams that they want to follow, and not just becoming engineers like their parents desired them to be. Synopsis by Abhishek Das.
Park. 1995, South Korea (65-DVD2155). Two aloof neighbors with tumultuous pasts live very different lifestyles in response to their traumas. 301, the chef, obsessively cooks elegant meals and engages in unattached sex to cope with the years she spent in a loveless marriage. 302, the writer, lives in extreme austerity, unable to eat or have sex as the result of years of sexual abuse by her step-father. When 301 decides to cook for the withering 302, the two become uneasy acquaintances and begin to rehash their past traumas. As their relationship escalates, it becomes clear that 302 will never be able to eat, presenting a unique impasse for the already unstable duo. This film explores the connection between sexual and culinary desire, as well as the symptoms of their complete absence. Carnality is at the very core of this disturbing, yet enthralling film. Synopsis by Michael Palumbo.
50 First Dates
Segal. 2004, USA. (65-DVD1780) Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) is a commitment-free man until he is introduced to the perplexing and gorgeous Lucy (Drew Barrymore). Within the first day they hit it off and Henry believes that he has met the woman of his dreams, until he discovers that she has short-term memory loss and forgets him every night. Set in Hukilua Café and the bustling restaurant atmosphere, every morning Henry woos her again and takes her on their “first date”. Beautiful cinematography by Jack Green highlights the picturesque Hawaiian environment and the thriving young love between the characters while using simple objects such as waffles to create humor. Synopsis by Junessa Sladen-Dew.
The Adventures of Food Boy
Dane Cannon. 2008, USA. Disney Channel Original Movie about a teenage boy who discovers he has the ability to generate food from his hands. This film displays how food can be used to bring people together and it shows food being used not only as nourishment for the body, but nourishment for social well being and relationships. Synopsis by Jalen Heyward.
The Age of Innocence
Scorsese. 1993, USA. Based on the novel by Edith Wharton, a tale of 19th-century New York high society, in which a young lawyer falls in love with a woman separated from her husband, while he is engaged to the woman’s cousin. The film uses a series of formal dinner settings to reveal the power dynamics and class structures at work in New York society.*
Alice in Wonderland
Geronimi, Jackson, and Luske. 1951, USA. Alice, a curious young girl, falls into an alternate world called Wonderland. Along her way, she encounters various food and drink that help or hinder her, such as a shrinking drink and a ‘gigantifying’ cake. Various characters in Wonderland are also defined primarily by food: the Cook who uses too much pepper, the Caterpillar who teaches Alice about a shape-changing mushroom, the Knave of Hearts accused of stealing tarts, and, most famously, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the Dormouse whose tea party Alice joins. Philip Ardagh comments on the significance of the edibles in Alice’s adventures here: https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/eating-and-drinking-in-alices-adventures-in-wonderland. Synopsis by Shirley Pu.
Alice in Wonderland
Burton. 2010, USA. In Tim Burton's adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic tale, a now-grown Alice returns to Wonderland, where she discovers a twisted, fantastical realm. To save Wonderland from the tyrannical Red Queen, Alice embarks on a quest filled with whimsical characters, magical creatures, and challenging obstacles, ultimately embracing her destiny as the world's savior. Food plays a central and surreal role, reflecting the whimsy and eccentricity of Wonderland. Alice encounters bizarre food and drink that cause dramatic size changes, exemplifying her struggle to find her identity. The Mad Hatter's tea party revolves around the nonsensical consumption of tea and cakes, embodying the absurdity of Wonderland. Food serves as a symbol of transformation and instability, aligning with the film's theme of embracing one's uniqueness and challenging conformity. Synopsis by Emily Shih.
All Quiet on the Western Front
Bar. 2022. Germany. All Quiet on the Western Front follows Paul Baumer through the horrors and dehumanization of World War I. War is nothing like Paul expected, and he finds that food is a luxury and necessity, which often leads to him taking drastic measures to get it. He and his mentor, Kat, steal food from enemy trenches and homes often with bullets flying past their heads. During wartime, this increases their overall chance of survival, but they later get greedy and try to steal post-war. After miraculously surviving many battles together, Kat falls at the hands of a child defending his home. The dark irony of war brings Paul's earlier quote, “Anything is worth it if you are staving.” into question. Synopsis by Carson Jolly.
Always Be My Maybe
Khan. 2019, USA. In Always Be My Maybe, Sasha Tran, portrayed by Ali Wong, is a renowned celebrity chef, and Marcus Kim, played by Randall Park, childhood friends who drift apart after a falling out but reconnect years later. The film explores the cultural aspects of food, showcasing the importance of traditional dishes in Sasha and Marcus' lives. Their shared love for food becomes a symbol of their deep connection as they attempt to rekindle their romance while navigating the differences in their lifestyles and aspirations. Synopsis by Hien Le.
Fellini. 1973, Italy (65-DVD21826). A colorful, satirical and exaggerated recollection of director Federico Fellini’s experience growing up in a small seaside town outside of Rimini during the fascist rule of Italy in the 1930s. The film’s depictions of feasting mostly focus on the aftermath of food-based festivities, questioning the significance of food in the reconstruction of one’s childhood memories. Synopsis by Sean Sabye.
Mendes. 1999, USA. Lester Burnham is the focus of this dystopian film about a suburban American family that gets flipped upside down when the father (Kevin Spacey) starts to fantasize about his daughter’s best friend. The film follows the Burnham family as Lester’s cheerleading daughter starts dating the drug-dealing boy next door, real-estate agent wife begins an affair, and as he, himself quits his job to start doing drugs and working out – all for the attention of his daughter’s 16-year old best friend. The illusion of happy, picturesque suburban America is shattered as the viewer sees the last months of Lester’s life unfold. Synopsis by Madison Whalen.
Weitz. 1999, USA. With high school nearing its end, four best friends set out a plan at a diner to lose their virginity. With nothing else to compare sexual activities to, the boys continuously use food as a descriptor, and sometimes go as far as using it as a method for sexual activities as well. Throughout the movie, depictions of food often parallel descriptions of sex, and the two are frequently juxtaposed, to the extent that food becomes a metonymy for sex. Although each boy has several failed attempts at achieving their goal, they manage to succeed and reminisce about their experience at the same diner they made the plan. Synopsis by Sara Junuzovic.
Original title: Druk. Vinterberg. 2020, Denmark (N/A). Four high school teachers, Martin, Tommy, Peter, and Nikolaj, maintain a steady level of intoxication throughout their workday to test Finn Skårderud’s hypothesis that man was born with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) 0.05% too low. Another Round questions the viability of a perpetual form of feasting while celebrating the camaraderie offered in the ritual of a shared drink. Synopsis by Sean Sabye.
Noonan. 2003, USA. Babe is the story of a pig who is transformed from potential food to quasi-human family member as he learns to provide an alternative value for his existence. After his mother is sent to “pig paradise”, Babe is won at a county fair by Farmer Hoggett and joins a working farm where he is adopted by a border collie. After discovering he is destined for the Christmas dinner table, Babe devotes his time to becoming a useful member of the family by learning to be a sheep-pig. The other farm animals have difficulty accepting the change in order. This film explores human categorization of animals, gender roles and the objectification of livestock. Synopsis by Georgia Jeffrey.
Axel. 1987, Denmark. French-Catholic refugee Babette Hersant takes work as a housemaid and cook for pious sisters Martine and Philippe, who lead the tiny Puritan congregation of their isolated village on the Danish Coast. When Babette miraculously wins the Paris lottery after years living in Denmark, she cooks a decadent French meal for her employers and their austere flock. The event, which the villagers originally fear will be a gluttonous “witches’ Sabbath,” renews the ties of faith and love that hold together the Puritan community; like the bread and wine of the Eucharist, Babette’s feast combines spiritual and bodily satiation. Synopsis by Brady Gilliam.
A Bad Mom's Christmas
Moore & Lucas. 2017, United States. Three moms feel pressure to make Christmas the best for their families and their mothers. As one of the moms, Amy, tries her best to prepare a feast for their Christmas dinner, she is upstaged by her mother has her own ideas of what Christmas should be like. Synopsis by Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez.
Banshees of Inisherin
McDonagh. 2022, UK. Paidric and Colm have been the best of friends for as long as they have known each other. When Colm, seemingly for no good reason, begins to distance himself from Paidric on account of his “dullness”, Paidric fights to earn back Colm's favor in increasingly drastic measures. Food is used to reflect the condition of human relationships. McDonagh treats food not as a means of sustenance, but as a medium for people to meet and share kindness with each other. As Colm and Paidric’s relationship deteriorates and Paidric’s antics pushes them further away, the representation of food and feasting slowly grows more macabre. Synopsis by Davin Lee.
Shi. 2018, USA. A lonely mother missing her grown child was surprised to see the last steamed bun (baozi) she makes comes to life as a young Bao boy, offering her a second chance at motherhood. While enjoying nurturing and caring for Bao in his early years, the adolescent Bao gets out of control. This short film builts upon the traditional treat baozi, explores the dynamics between first-generation Chinese Canadians and their only son. In an impulse of anger, the mother makes a startling choice, leading to a poignant revelation about her actual son. Synopsis by Yuejia Zhang.
Greta Gerwig. 2023, USA. Barbie is about stereotypical Barbie going to the real world to repair her relationship with the woman playing with her. In this film, food operates as a symbol of Barbie’s deteriorating psyche when the woman playing with her starts to develop symptoms of depression. When things are going well, Barbie’s food is stereotypically perfect and plastic, and when things go bad, the food is flawed. As Barbie begins to explore the real world, real food signals that she is acclimating to the harsh truths and surprising joys of real life. Synopsis by Dain Ruiz.
Stillman, 1994, United States, (65-DVD8269). Two quarreling cousins, Ted, a salesman, and Fred, a naval officer, spend their time abroad in Barcelona attempting to navigate the tumultuous labyrinths of romance and politics. In having the film’s characters adrift between various bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, Stillman brings to the viewer’s attention the role that spaces of feasting play in how people interact with each other and relate to the world around them. Stillman advances an image of these spaces of feasting as places removed from time, a place of security for the cousins to orient themselves in the chaos of a foreign land and find a sense of social commonality with its inhabitants. Synopsis by Ethan Leonard.
The Bear (Season 2)
Storer. 2022, USA. The Bear is a comedy-drama series centering on a young chef, Carmen ‘Carmey’ Berzatto, an acclaimed chef in the fine-dining world, coming back home to Chicago to run his family’s sandwich shop following the death of his older brother, Mikey. Season 2 focuses on the shop’s underdog crew of troubled yet loveable line cooks, chefs, and staff, facing adversity and realizing their full potential as they endeavor to rebuild the shop into a fine dining establishment. Synopsis by Laura Tinkler.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Zeitlin. 2012, Russia. Beasts of the Southern Wild centers around a small girl named Hushpuppy as she learns to survive after her father is stricken with a fatal illness and her community is destroyed by a hurricane. Her evolving relationship with food emphasizes her progression to self-reliance. Synopsis by Willow Barefoot.
Because I Said So
Lehmann. 2007, USA (65-DVD4033). This movie follows the story of a meddlesome mother (Daphne), who finds a way to insert herself into her adult daughters (Milly) love life. Both Milly and Daphne are huge bakers, where baking is one of the main ways, they not only show their affection for others throughout the film but also is used as bonding experiences. With a notable mention of Milly’s souffle that she cooks on two separate occasions for her two lovers, baking is a staple in both women’s lives that is shown within the film. Synopsis by Abby Kliensorge.
Smith & Hickner. 2007, USA. Dissatisfied with the worker-bee lifestyle that lies in his future, Barry B. Benson ventures outside of his hive to explore the opportunities that await in the outside world. Barry spends time with a human woman named Vanessa, through whom he learns the world-shattering fact that humans collect and sell the honey produced by bees. The film explores ideas of production and ownership of food, questioning the notion that human beings have an uncontested claim to that which animals and nature produce. Synopsis by Na’dayah Pugh.
Zemekis. 2007, USA. The legendary Geatish warrior Beowulf must fight and defeat the monster Grendel who is terrorizing Denmark, and later, Beowulf must also fight Grendel’s avenging mother. Feasting in the film becomes an important symbol of community and allows the perpetuation of memories, as well as the preservation of traditions. Synopsis by Jennifer Lyu.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
dir. Madden. 2011. USA. British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways. Acceptance of the new culture is charted via food choices, and attention to those who serve it.*
The Big Feast
"La Grande Bouffe". Marco Ferreri, France, 1973. This film is about a pilot, a cook, a TV star, and a judge who decide to eat themselves to death with fancy cuisine. This film displays the idea that food can be a catalyst for gluttony. There are also various culinary gender roles within this film, like only men are socially accepted to eat sloppy. Synopsis by Jalen Heyward.
Scott and Tucci. 1996, USA. Two Italian immigrant brothers struggle to keep their family restaurant in business while competing with a popular Italian-American restaurant across the street. The brothers wrestle with ideas of a cook’s artistic integrity versus a businessman’s financial know-how. The brothers cook one epic final feast in hopes of saving their restaurant. Synopsis by Markella Patitsas.
Birds of Prey (and The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Yan. 2020, US. Margot Robbie stars in the titular role as the eccentric Harley Quinn in the film, Birds of Prey (and The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn). The film centers around Quinn breaking free of her toxic lover the Joker (Jared Leto & Johnny Goth), finding herself, and banding together with other heroic women whom they later call the Birds of Prey. Amid Quinn’s emancipation, she relies on a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich that will always be good to her, unlike the other men in her life. The breakfast sandwich serves as a sense of certainty in Quinn’s world of anarchy where men target her following her separation from the villainous Joker, who was once her protection and partner in crime. When Quinn drops this spectacular sandwich due to being chased by various enemies, it represents her world falling apart and how she must pick up the pieces on her own in order to finally enjoy a life of independence. Synopsis by Chantel Gillus.
Aronofsky. 2012, USA. After being given the role of the Swan Queen in her company’s production of “Swan Lake,” Nina struggles to simultaneously articulate the dark nature of the black swan and the innocence of the white swan. As she becomes closer to Lily, her competition and the embodiment of the black swan, Nina’s dedication to perfecting the role begins to border obsession as she does everything in her power to be the principal ballerina. This film explores various themes, such as limited consumption/eating disorders, the pursuit of perfection, and deterioration to inspect the nature of obsession. Synopsis by Emma Moon.
Blade Runner 2049
Villeneuve. 2017, US. In a dystopian future, corporations have invented androids called replicants that serve as tools for menial labor and servitude. K, an android police officer tasked with hunting replicants that have gone against their programming, becomes suspicious of his origins as one of his investigations leads him to believe he could have been born. Proof of androids having the human capacity would destroy their marketability, and thus K becomes the hunted as he searches for answers. Food is used to show the deceiving nature of reality within this over-digitized society. Often, holograms of meals juxtapose over gruel as K eats, representing both his internal turmoil, as well as the uncertainty of whether or not his reality is that of lived experience or programmed memory. Synopsis by Davin Lee.
Bones and All
Guadagino. 2022, USA. Mareen and Lee, two individuals drifting on the outskirts of society, must confront their most primal urges as they embark on a cross-country journey across the United States. To understand themselves and their relationship, they must confront their past, their values, and the people they meet along the way. Synopsis by Emma Moon.
Miller. 2008, USA. This dramedy follows the 1975 blind wine tasting contest now known as “The Judgement of Paris.” It chronicles the origins of Californian winemaking before its international acclaim. Steven Spurrier (Alan Rickman) is a wine shop owner in Paris who comes up with an international blind wine tasting contest to save his store. On his search for contestants, he meets California winemaker Jim Barrett (Bill Pullman) and son Bo (Chris Pine). Against his father’s wishes, Bo helps Spurrier bring California wine back to Europe to introduce his own community to another version of something he loves so dearly. The film culminates in the blind taste contest, where the focus is on experience over appearance. This film is an endearing tale of authenticity, hope and persistence from a community of underdogs who truly care about the quality of food they make. It embodies the sentiment that everyone’s talent matters, regardless of society’s preconceived expectations. Synopsis by Christina Polge.
The Breakfast Club
Hughes. 1985, USA. Five high school students, each a member of a different clique, are forced to spend a Saturday in detention together with a villainous principal. Despite their perceived differences, they soon come to realize that they have more in common than they thought. The food in the film essentially stands as a representation of the stereotype that labels each teen and the clique that they belong to. Synopsis by Jennifer Lyu.
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Edwards. 1961, USA. A money-hungry socialite becomes acquainted with her new neighbor and invites him into her extravagant lifestyle. Holly Golightly and Paul Varjak indulge in expensive drink despite their financial dependence on others, representing their phony identities. Although Holly appears put-together she suffers from unidentified neurosis, which is only calmed when she breakfasts on pastries and coffee in front of Tiffany’s storefront, a visual feast of the glamour she longs for. Holly’s poor cooking skills and empty refrigerator are representative of her scrambled personality and unsustainable life. Synopsis by Jennifer Na.
A Bug's Life
Lasseter & Stanton. 1998, USA. A Bug’s Life follows a colony of ants stuck at the bottom of the food chain in a constant cycle providing for grasshoppers. Flik, a well-intentioned self-proclaimed innovator attempting to revolutionize the colonies' food harvesting methods accidentally sabotages an offering meant for the grasshoppers and plunges the colony into a seemingly perilous situation. In an attempt to right his past mistakes, he ventures out on a journey to find a band of warriors in order to fundamentally alter their position in the shackles of the food chain that make this colony beholden to terrifying grasshoppers. While food holds the film together, quite literally for city bugs in the case of empty food-packaging serving as buildings, it also transforms into something more sinister later on for the leader of the grasshoppers, Hopper. Synopsis by Alexander Thornburg.
Wells. 2015, USA. Two Michelin star chef Adam Jones returns to London after completing his self imposed penance of shucking one million oysters in New Orleans. This was his penance for mistakes of the past that hurt his closest friends – friends he now persuades to financially back his new restaurant and pursuit of his third Michelin star. In addition to showing Adam’s remarkable gustatory and culinary skills, it also depicts his transformation from a hot-tempered chef that screams and throws dishes in the kitchen to a person who is able to make food that astounds, but also knows the importance of the love that must go into making that food. Synopsis by Tori Placentra.
Call Me By Your Name
Guadagnino. 2017, USA. Set during the breathtaking summer of 1983 in Lombardy, France, the plot follows the coming-of-age love story between a boy and a slightly older man. The gentle but passionate movie follows the 6-weeks of summer and the growing romance of the men through intensely realized but weighted moments creating an energy similar to a thriller. Throughout the movie, scenes follow the transformation of passionate love through averted eyes at dinner tables, shared picnics, hidden gifts of food and finally in the climax of the movie where a peach is used as an erotic tool for the men. The underlying message of hidden sexuality is beautifully portrayed through the lens of both nature and organic food, building a raw and immediate energy from the opening credits to the final lingering scene. Synopsis by Junessa Sladen-Dew.
Winick, 2006, USA. A film about a terrific, radiant spring pig and his desperation to avoid becoming bacon before the first snow fall of winter. Fern, the daughter of a farmer, develops an attachment to Wilbur who as the runt of a litter was almost shot dead by her father. The film explores how our attachment to animals as pets and as categorized beings for consumption can cause challenging conflicts. Synopsis by Georgia Jeffrey.
Balki. 2007, India. Buddhadev, a 64 year-old-chef and owner of London’s top Indian restaurant, falls in love with a very young, traditional woman, Nina, after they meet over a dish at his restaurant. After a sequence of dates at his restaurant over different dishes each meal, they decide to travel to India and ask for a blessing from Nina’s father, Omprakash. He declines, but after tasting Buddhadev’s authentic and world-class cooking and sensing his undying love for his daughter, Omprakash deems Buddhadev fit to marry his daughter, and they move back to England to marry. Synopsis by Abhishek Das.
Favreau. 2014, USA. Carl Casper is a professional chef who loses his job at a popular, affluent Los Angeles restaurant and decides to start his own food truck business selling traditional Cuban food. The shift in food that Carl prepares, from the delicate American cuisines to the Cuban cubanos, reflects a parallel shift in the values Carl possesses throughout the film. The restaurant cuisines ultimately portray his deep concern for his self-image and reputation, whereas the cubanos take him back to his roots and he begins to prioritize his life and see the true value of friendship and family. Synopsis by Jennifer Lyu.
"Fuera de carta". Velilla. 2008, Spain. Maxi (Javier Cámara) thinks his life is perfect. He is a famous cook who owns a top hyped restaurant in Chueca (the gay district of Madrid), with his most important goal being to get the restaurant rated by the Michelin guide. He is living the homosexual lifestyle without problems and hangups, with his employees as his closest confidants -including Alex (Lola Dueñas) and Ramiro (Fernando Tejero). But when his son Edu (Junio Valverde) and daughter (who were born from an unsuccessful marriage) appear and a new neighbor, Horacio (Benjamín Vicuña) moves in (an attractive famous Argentinian ex-soccer player), they will completely turn his life upside down and make him question his values…It has non-stop comedy twists involving Maxi, the children, the employees in the restaurant, the handsome neighbor, and Maxi’s parents. Just when you think you can’t laugh anymore, it takes things one step further.*
Tsui. 1995, Hong Kong. Kit is a master chef who struggles balancing his work in the kitchen and his time spent with the woman whom he loves. When his girlfriend soon breaks off their relationship, Kit becomes an alcoholic and his sense of taste is lost. However, his life is turned around once more when he is asked by another restaurant owner, Au, to enter a cooking challenge and defeat the Super Group supremo in order to help save Au’s restaurant. Food and cooking ultimately becomes a healing mechanism for Kit, as it reflects his both his emotions and identity. Synopsis written by Jennifer Lyu.
Hallström. 2000, USA. Chocolat tells the story of Vianne Rocher, a chocolatier, and her daughter who travel across Europe and settle in a small town in rural France during the winter of 1959. Rocher opens a chocolate shop across from a church during lent and is met with some pushback from the conservative townspeople who are stuck in their traditional ways. However, after she coaxes them to taste her unbelievable chocolate during lent, the townspeople accept Rocher and her chocolate shop despite the mayor’s efforts to shut down her store. A group of drifters visit the small town, and Vianne meets a gypsy named Roux who helps her plan a “Grand Festival of Chocolate” on Easter Sunday. Synopsis by Christian Ortiz.
A Christmas Story
Clark, 1983. USA. A Christmas Story re-creates the fictional life of Ralphie, a child going through the Christmas season in 1940 Indiana. All Ralphie can think about is the BB-gun he wants for Christmas, and food is something that just seems to get in the way. Ralphie’s midwestern diet and family meal dynamic is crucial to understanding his perspective, one marked by baby brother antics at the table and stewed vegetables for dinner. Even Christmas dinner is upended when the turkey is eaten by neighborhood dogs, prompting a visit to the local Chinese restaurant. Ralphie realizes the true meaning of Christmas through dreams that are unrealized, an anti-feast and purging of sorts, that leaves him thankful and contemplative. Synopsis by Meg Van Cleve.
Christmas in Connecticut
Godfrey. 1945, USA. In her newspaper column, prominent food writer Elizabeth Lane pretends to live in a mansion in Connecticut, tend to her farm, and cook luscious, intricate dishes for her husband and child. In her articles she lives an idyllic American life, but in reality, she lives alone in a small apartment in the New York City, not at all the character she plays in print. She has gotten by on the lie for a long time, but when her newspaper editor asks that she and her “family” host a service member at their lodge for Christmas out of patriotic obligation, she must scramble to pull off the scene. One of the chief problems: she cannot cook for her life but is expected to prepare an immaculate Christmas feast with the food she has described in her column. To evade exposure, she convinces her dear friend Felix, a renowned chef who gives her the recipes to describe in her writing, to do the cooking for her. Elizabeth and Felix do not conform to the stereotypes or genders assigned to cooking, and thus are able to carry out the ruse because their friends don’t expect that a woman wouldn’t know her way around the kitchen, especially one who speaks so eloquently about doing so. The film combats pervasive gender stereotypes about women in the kitchen by showing just how silly antiquated views of the sexes can be. Synopsis by Jenna Holtz.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Adamson. 2005, USA. Four siblings uncover the land of Narnia at the back of a wardrobe. They learn of their destiny to save Narnia from the White Witch with the assistance of a lion. One of the siblings, Edmund, is tempted by the White Witch with Turkish Delights for information. The Turkish Delights (gummy candies made from starch and sugar that come in a variety of flavors) represent temptation and enchantment, even leading Edmund to turn against his own family. The film emphasizes the power of food and the things Edmund specifically is willing to do to indulge in it. Synopsis by Savanna Mathis.
Wong Kar-wai. 1994, Hong Kong. One after another, two cops wander through their lives looking for love amid the crowded Chungking Mansions area of Hong Kong. The characters experience memories of past romances, missed opportunities, and heartbreak as time passes around them. Packaged food becomes both a substitute and metaphor for love and loss in the busy streets of Hong Kong. Synopsis written by John Ligtenberg.
Cleo from 5 to 7
Varda. 1962, France. Cleo is a singer whose vanity and obsession with superficiality is put into question when she learns that she may have cancer. The film explores two hours of her life in real time as she waits to learn of her diagnosis. The feast is used as a tool of othering Cleo. While she is young and beautiful, her obsession with maintaining these qualities has brought her no genuine fulfillment. Varda depicts scenes of eating as social events with bustling cafes filled with chatter and patrons taking part in banter. In a particular scene, Cleo hears one of her songs playing on the jukebox in a cafe, only to find it overpowered by the indifferent crowd. The feast shows how Cleo has been missing out on camaraderie and deep relationships due to her focus on achieving vapid pursuits like fame or youth. Synopsis by Davin Lee.
A Clockwork Orange
Kubrick. 1971, United Kingdom. While food only plays a minor role in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange; it nonetheless remains relevant to the central themes which pertain to psychiatry, choice, and morality. At the beginning of the film, Alex DeLarge narrates his time at the Korova Milk Bar, drinking a beverage served there called Milk Plus which supposedly encourages him to commit acts of ultraviolence. For Kubrick, Milk Plus is tied into a biopolitical meditation on how morality and delinquency manifests in society, dovetailing with the forced psychiatric conditioning Alex undergoes later on. In identifying this loss of control with milk, typically representing innocence, Kubrick makes clear the disdain he feels for this conception of morality. Synopsis by Ethan Leonard.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Lord and Miller. 2009, USA. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs tells the story of a clumsy, failed inventor named Flint Lockwood. Swallow Falls, his home town, is forced to eat sardines because of the local sardine cannery – the town’s primary source of income. Tired of eating the fish, Flint invents what he calls “The Flint Lockwood Diatomic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator” that converts water into food. The device doesn’t work properly and sends food into the atmosphere, causing it to rain food all across Swallow Falls. The mayor tries to use his invention to help the community, but ignores the ensuing danger it will cause. Synopsis by Christian Ortiz.
Coffee and Cigarettes
Jarmusch. 2003, USA. Coffee and Cigarettes is a series of 11 vignettes that follow conversations between two or three people. Each conversation is in a restaurant where the characters, over cigarettes or tea and coffee, argue or discuss various obscure topics. However, there are themes that connect each vignette, including conversation about why cigarettes and coffee are bad for you and how you should drink more than coffee for lunch, celebrity worship, and Nikola Tesla’s belief that Earth is a conductor of acoustical resonance. Jim Jarmusch uses coffee or tea and cigarettes to depict how, even though they are a social lubricant, the two only help facilitate surface level conversation, many times creating awkwardness due to the lack of common ground. Synopsis by Christian Ortiz.
Coming to America
Landis. 1988, USA. Prince Akeem, rightful heir to the throne of Zamunda is fed up with his extravagant lifestyle. On his 21st birthday his parents arrange his engagement to the daughter of a wealthy man from Zamunda. Although his wife-to-be is beautiful and obeys his every command, Akeem longs to find a woman who wants him for who he is and not what he has. Thus, Akeem embarks on a journey to find his true love, and future wife in America with his companion and servant Semmi. This movie highlights the stark contrast between what those with money have and those in the working class have. It also touches on the way Africa and African food is portrayed in America, which is contrasted with typical American junk food. Synopsis by Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez.
Selick. 2009, USA (65-DVD8258). Coraline is a young girl with a curious mind who discovers an alternate world with “other” parents who are the same as hers but have buttons for eyes. The movie follows Coraline’s many adventures in this other world, with many scenes focused on feeding Coraline and being shown extravagant feasts. This film uses many different methods, but food seems to be one of the primary ways utilized by the “other” mother to manipulate Coraline into staying in the alternate world. Synopsis by Abby Kliensorge.
Crazy Rich Asians
Chu. 2018, US. This contemporary romantic comedy, based on a global bestseller, follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family. In the movie Crazy Rich Asians, Rachel travels with her boyfriend Nick to Singapore and on their visit, she discovers the wealth and status of his family. One of the ways Nick introduces her to Singapore and Singaporean culture is through food. For starters, he takes her to the Hawker’s market, where the best food of Singapore is not in a fancy restaurant, but instead a casual food court setting. Additionally, despite the family having the money for cooks and servants, one of the family activities they participate in is making dumplings. Both of these interactions with Singaporean cuisine demonstrate how food can maintain tradition and transcend socio-economic class to be enjoyed by all. Synopsis by Sarah Brannum.
Sanders. 2013, USA. In this animated film, a close knit family in the Stone Age is uprooted when Eep, the eldest daughter, falls in love with an independent, innovative jack-of-all-trades guy named.. Guy. While the Crood family struggles for food and surival in their turbulent world, Guy offers a new way of life through tools and inventions. This film examines tension and growth in the face of change, as well as highlighting the freedom and mobility that comes with access to food. The Crood family finds a whole new world outside their cave, and it is more than worth the risk. Synopsis by Meg Van Cleve.
Silver, 1988, USA. Izzy is a working woman at a New York bookstore who is at odds with her overbearing Bubbe that is trying to find her a match. She is torn between Sam Posner, a pickle man with a heart of gold, and Anton Maes, a famous writer who appeals to her high-class taste. The foods she is presented with represent the disparity between the two men. Through a series of temptations and mistakes, Izzy must decide which person she truly wants to be with, even if it means reanalyzing her preconceived notions about individual success. Synopsis by Zoe Wall.
Original title: Sedmikrásky. Chytilová. 1966, Czechoslovakia. Two girls, both called Marie, believe the world is spoiled and that they deserve to spoil themselves, too. Loosely set in Communist-occupied Prague, the girls parade around the city playing pranks and indulging in guilty pleasures. They manipulate predatory men into buying them lavish dinners and they sneak into dance clubs to wine and dine. In Daisies, food is a vehicle for overindulgence as a metaphor for greedy, destructive political powers. Marie I and Marie II make a delicious mess and leave a trail of lovesick men in their wake in this radical, surrealist comedy. Synopsis by Olivia Stoll.
Hallström. 2010, USA. Food serves as a backdrop to the blossoming romance between Savannah and John. They meet at a beachside restaurant that sets the stage for their romance. They share meals that become intimate moments of connection and affection as their love for one another deepens. When John deploys overseas, Savannah often writes him letters that mention comfort food. The mention of such food serves as a token of home despite their distance. Food also symbolizes the passage of time and the changes that accompany time spent apart. By the time John returns, their difference in culinary tastes reveals the emotional distance that has grown between them. Food serves as a subtle mirror of the complexities of the couple’s love story. Synopsis by Mary Scott Brisson.
Besnard. 2021, France. It is 1789, just before the start of the French Revolution. Manceron is a proud and talented chef whose culinary misstep at a noble dinner results in harsh consequences. Dismissed, he retreats to a humble inn, serving vegetable soup until a mysterious woman, Louise, offers to become his apprentice. As they navigate countless trials of determining the best way to serve food, the film unfolds as a joyous tale of rekindled passion, mentorship, and the birth of France’s First restaurant. Synopsis by Lan Vy Phan.
Original title: Okuribito. Takita. 2008, Japan. After losing his job as a cellist, Daigo unexpectedly discovers a career in encoffinment, a ceremonial act involving the preparation of bodies for burial. Between meticulous rituals and a series of shared meals, Departures delicately reveals how food and ceremony intertwine, offering solace and understanding in the face of mortality. Food is used as a metaphor, emphasizing the importance of cultural traditions and the nourishment they provide in understanding the cyclical journey of life and death. Synopsis by Lan Vy Phan.
Vu. 2010, Germany. Based on H. P. Lovecraft’s 1927 cosmic horror story “The Colour Out of Space” and set in the fertile countryside of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Die Farbe relates the quiet but unsettling story of nature turning upon humans and humans upon each other. A mysterious meteorite crashes into the valley surrounding the Gärtener family farm and vanishes shortly thereafter without leaving any trace behind. The meteorite’s presence initially stimulates the Gärtener’s fields to overabundance, with the trees in their orchards bearing extraordinarily large fruits that astound both them and their neighbors but leave an unwholesome aftertaste in the mouth. As the season wears on, however, the land begins to sicken with an inexplicable and unstoppable blight, the neighbors shy away from the valley where the meteorite fell, and members of the Gärtener family begin to go mad. All the while, people report seeing occasional glimpses of a mysterious, alien color that defies human comprehension. Vu’s compelling choice to shoot the entire film solely in black-and-white, apart from the mysterious presence of the alien color that originates from the meteorite, hauntingly conveys the unnaturalness that befalls the Gärtener family and their farmland. Synopsis by Naomi Wagner.
Giraldi. 2000, UK.Is it just another evening at the hugely popular Italian restaurant of proprietor and bookmaker Louis Cropa in New York? Anything but as tonight’s guests include; a local police detective and his wife specially invited by the owner; on the balcony rival bookmaker gangsters from Queens who want to become partners in the restaurant; in the corner renowned food critic ‘the food nymph’ is her usual demanding self; and at the bar, seemingly unnoticed, is Ken. As the evening continues enter Duncan, inveterate gambler and sous-chef on-the-line in the frenetic kitchen downstairs, who acts as the catalyst that causes the evening to draw to its inevitable, explosive, deadly conclusion. Synopsis by Mark Smith.*
Dinner with Friends
Jewison. 2001, USA. Based on the 1998 play by Donald Margulies, the film captures the lives of a happily married couple, Gabe and Karen, who are also world-traveling food critics, and another married couple, and Tom and Beth. Gabe and Karen later find out from Beth at the dinner table that she is getting a divorce from Tom, who has been unfaithful. Gabe and Karen soon begin to reevaluate the strength of their own seemingly tranquil relationship. Food essentially plays a nourishing role throughout the film, as well as the role of a mediator for social interactions. It also serves a deeper role in tying the body and soul together. Synopsis by Jennifer Lyu.
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeioisie
"Le Charm Discrete de la Bourgeioisie". Bunuel. 1972, France. The absurd meets the mundane in this series of disconnected vignettes. With half-revealed plots that are just as soon dismantled by their dream states, the misfortunes and escapades of the six main characters juxtapose dry, lifeless propriety with thrilling fantasy. As in all other elements of their bourgeois, highly-material lives, style overrides substance; even though the vignettes are loosely tied together by foiled attempts to dine together, the film is a collection of anti-feasts, a buffet of faux pas. The pretenses for gathering are often superficial or obligatory, and the food itself is never enjoyed or even the centerpiece. It is little more than a prop (sometimes literally), just as is the case of all the other trappings of luxury. Even when it seems that the feast’s physical components might finally be enjoyed as intended, consumption is the demise of its subject. As each potential feast is thwarted by the highly improbable, one wonders if true consumption is possible or if there is only a vacuous performance of it. Such is the underlying critique of the bourgeoisie’s tastes: It is more important to know how to properly pour gin than to taste it, more important to properly serve and talk about the food than to enjoy it, and perhaps, more important to only appear to live rightly than to partake of life itself. Synopsis by Alexis Dumain.
Do the Right Thing
Spike Lee. 1989, USA. Do the Right Thing is about the bubbling raicial tension in a famous Brooklyn pizza shop on the hottest day of the summer. In this film, food operates as a symbol for community. The pizza shop serves as a gathering spot of members of all races in the community, despite the racist owners and employees. As tensions build throughout the film, this sense of community deteriorates. Once the community reaches its breaking point, riots ensue and the pizza shop is destroyed, signifying full division and abandonment of community. Synopsis by Dain Ruiz.
Don't Worry Darling
Wilde. 2022, USA. Food serves as a symbol of conformity and control in the idyllic 1950s suburban desert town of Victory, California. Alice, the protagonist, becomes increasingly aware of the oddities within her town through expectations surrounding food. The widespread female obsession with diets and potluck dinners is a clue-in to her suspicions. As she begins to uncover glimpses into reality and out of her psychological simulation, she realizes food is used by the males of Victory as a tool of manipulation. In fact, it is often while she is cooking that she begins to experience glimmers of breakthrough back into her original life and true reality. On one notable occasion, this happens as she begins to manically crack eggs while preparing a meal for her husband and company. Food further serves as a catalyst for Alice to question and oppose societal constraints placed on her. Synopsis by Mary Scott Brisson.
Down to You
Issacson. 2000, USA. This romantic comedy, set in New York during the two main character’s college years, follows Imogen and Al as they fall in and out of love over their lives. The movie uses food as a plot device and as symbolism. Al, a chef, is in love with food. He romances Imogen by cooking her exquisite dinners and taking her to foreign restaurants. Food is also in their family, as his father is also a famous television chef, and Al becomes closer with his father once he joins the show himself. The movie also explores the anti-feast, and what it means to consume something inedible, as the film shows a poisoning by drinking shampoo. On multiple occasions, food (especially fruits and vegetables) are used to symbolize the perfect woman and searching for the perfect “ingredients.” Al’s father explains on his show how women are like perfect tomatoes, and how you should never make pasta sauce with ones you don’t find to be appealing. Food is also used to symbolize sex. In the movie, every time before the couple sleeps together they always buy a cake. This furthers the ideas of the connection between sex as indulgence, just as cake is a rich and indulgent dessert. Synopsis by Lauren Coffey.
Norman. 2017, USA. Food serves as a stark reminder of the dire circumstances endured by soldiers during the evacuation of Dunkirk in World War II. The scarcity of rations conveys the severity of the situation. Troops were surviving on meager sustenance and foraging for anything edible. Food shortages heightened tensions amongst troops and even made some lose their minds. Food further serves as an olive branch in the film, as it highlights acts of kindness on behalf of civilians as they share their limited resources with the soldiers. Food and its lack become a potent narrative elements in the film that address humanity’s breath of kindness in the midst of turmoil. Synopsis by Mary Scott Brisson.
Dovzhenko. 1930, Ukraine. Widely considered the director’s masterpiece, the silent film Earth (Zemlya) compellingly explores social inequality, the circle of life, and the relation of humans to each other and the land by depicting episodic moments in the life of a Ukrainian village. Lingering shots of apple trees and wheat fields swaying in the wind open the film; the old grandfather Semyon, surrounded by his generational family and a fruitful orchard, eats a pear and dies content; Simon’s grandson Vasili brings a tractor to the village; in a lovingly detailed montage, the villagers plow, sow, and harvest wheat to make bread with the help of the tractor; the funeral bier of the murdered Vasili is carried under orchard boughs laden with fruit at the same time as a baby is born; and close-ups of apples and other produce in the rain, interspersed with close-ups of the villagers’ faces, close the film. Synopsis by Naomi Wagner.
Eat Drink Man Woman
Lee. 1994, Taiwan. A father and his three daughters endeavor to reconcile tradition with modernization. Father and Senior Master Chef Chu uses carefully prepared meals as a means of communicating with his daughters who are growing distant. Many of the familial struggles emerge during the Sunday evening dinner ritual. Synopsis by Markella Patitsas.
Eat Pray Love
Murphy. 2010, USA. This romantic drama, adapted from the memoir of the same name, follows the life of Elizabeth Gilbert. Gilbert feels aimless and begins a search for her life's purpose. After divorcing her husband, she goes on an adventure to find herself. She travels to Italy, India, and Bali. In Italy, she indulges in pizza, pasta and gelato. Throughout her stint in Italy, Gilbert connects to her food in a sensual and spiritual way, contributing to her self-discovery journey. In India, Gilbert stays in an ashram and learns more about herself through prayer. Then, in Bali, she meets a businessman named Felipe with whom she has a whirlwind romance. She is committed to her enjoyment of food, just as she is committed to prayer and love, which ultimately helps her find her inner peace. Synopsis by Christina Polge.
Eat Your Heart Out
Tucker. 2008, USA.In the heart of New York City, men are dying in very violent ways. They are being torn up and ripped apart…and eaten. The only connection is that they all die after hiring a prostitute. And searching for love in this city is Jeffrey…Jeffrey is a sad and lonely man. He hates his job, he hates his life and all he wants is a woman to shower with love and affection. Socially awkward and fearing rejection, Jeffrey finds his companionship with hookers. In a bizarre twist of fate, Jeffrey hires this hooker and almost instantly they fall madly in love. Now he has to find out just how much he is willing to accept in the name of true love…She is feeding on the men of New York City…and there is a lunatic that is hunting her down…and caught in the middle is Jeffrey, who only wanted to love and be loved. Synopsis by Johnny la Guardia.*
Paul Bartel. 1982, USA. As is hinted at by their surname, Paul and Mary Bland are a rather boring and prudish couple. The pair are discontent about their current social status, and want nothing more than to be able to quit their jobs and open up their very own restaurant. Synopsis by Christian Villacres.
Eddie's Million Dollar Cook-off
Paul Hoen. 2003, USA. Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-off is a Disney Channel original movie about a young boy, Eddie Ogden, who struggles to balance his passions for both baseball and cooking. This film is one of many that tries to break stereotypes of gender roles through society, and does an excellent job by relating it to cooking. In the end ironically, food ,which was originally the conflict of the movie, brings Eddie, his father, and his friends closer together embracing and supporting Eddie’s passion for cooking, and breaking the status quo. Synopsis by Jalen Heyward.
Lima. 2007, USA. Enchanted follows the story of Giselle, a soon-to-be princess from the fairytale land of Andalasia, as she is acculturated to the harsh land of New York City. In this foreign land, Giselle learns from her new friends, divorce attorney Robert and his young daughter, what it means to be a “real” human. During this metamorphosis, food both details Giselle’s descent into reality and also brings in biblical elements that tie the plot into a greater narrative that traces the cosmic battle between good and evil. Synopsis by Olivia Holder.
Lynch. 1977, USA. An extremely disturbing visual depiction of a man named Henry becoming a new father to his alien-like child. In this horror fantasy nothing seems to be like real life; even the chicken moves and secretes fluids after it has been baked and served to eat. As the perversion of reality progresses, food retains its purpose as sustenance no matter how foul it seems. Synopsis by Sara Junuzovic.
Estomango, A Gastronomic Story
Marcos Jorge, 2008, Brazil. This film is about Raimundo Nonato comparing his successful life as a cook to his life as a prisoner. It exemplifies the phrase “The world comprises those who eat and those who are eaten” and Raimundo cooks in order to survive both in his life as a cook and a prisoner. The cook must also provide for others and himself and the cook only knows which part tastes the best. Synopsis by Jalen Heyward.
Everything Everywhere All at Once
The Daniels. 2022, USA. Everything Everywhere All at Once is a science fiction film that centers around Evelyn Wang, played by Michelle Yeoh, a Chinese American housewife who discovers the ability to access the multiverse. The centerpiece of the plot is “The Everything Bagel,” an everything bagel with literally everything on it to where it becomes a singularity that could destroy the entire multiverse. To defeat Jobu Tupaki, the creator of “The Everything Bagel,” Evelyn has to tap into different universes, from hotdog replacing fingers to universes where Evelyn has a super strong pinky finger, to gain different abilities to defeat her enemies. The film blends elements of science fiction, drama, and surrealism to create a unique and visually stunning exploration of multiverse theory and personal discovery. Synopsis by Hien Le.
The Fault in our Stars
Boone. 2014, USA. Protagonists Hazel and Gus, both battling cancer, share moments of indulging in food. These moments become symbolic of the couple's stolen moments of happiness and normalcy amidst chemotherapy treatments and group therapy. The two share tomato and cheese sandwiches over a picnic in their hometown and a slice of cake at their group therapy meeting which serve as metaphors for brief escapes from the harsh reality of their health struggles. Their final meal in Amsterdam is accompanied by champagne “bottled from the stars of the night’s sky.” At the end of the meal, they find out it has all been paid for by their favorite author. Food becomes a vehicle for the couple’s connection, love, and fleeting moments of joy during their love story. Synopsis by Mary Scott Brisson.
A Feast at Midnight
Hardy. 1994, UK. A young boy, Magnus, is sent to a private school called Dryden Park where he is forced to consume bland food that he hates. In an effort to change the food culture at Dryden, Magnus makes friends with an older girl, Charlotte, and other friends to stand up to those that bully him and create a secret society that makes food illegally in the school. After gathering a following and showcasing his passion for cooking, he is thrown out of the school. From this point, he is able to reconnect with his father and follow his passion for food knowing he made a lasting effect on the people at Dryden. Synopsis by Abhishek Das.
Egoyan. 1999, USA.A lonely middle-aged catering manager spends all of his time studying tapes of an eccentric TV chef. Meanwhile, a young woman is making her way from Ireland to find her boy friend, who moved to England to get a job in a lawn-mower factory. On arrival, she makes an early contact with the caterer, who recommends a boarding room to her. Slowly, it is revealed that the caterer has in fact befriended and subsequently abused more than a dozen young women. He, of course, now sets his sights on this woman. Much of the story is told in flashbacks, revealing how each of the characters grew to the point where they now find themselves. However, the drama of the character interaction is more important to director, Atom Egoyan, than the potential horror of the situation. Synopsis by John Sacksteder.
Stanton. 2003, USA. The film follows Marlin, an over-protective clown fish, and his adventurous son Nemo whose curiosity isn’t hindered by his foreshortened fin. The injury itself came from a barracuda attack when Nemo hadn’t yet hatched, an attack that took his mother and siblings, exemplifying the predator-prey relationship in the open ocean. The bond between Nemo and Marlin is strengthened, therefore, as they are the only family the other has. When Nemo ventures too far from their safe reef home, he’s captured by divers and taken to an aquarium in a dentist’s office. Along with a blue reef fish named Dory (who suffers with short-term memory loss), Marlin sets out to save his son and bring him home, overcoming dangers like sharks, jellyfish and powerful tidal waves along the way. While the film is accurate to a great degree about marine life, it also takes artistic freedom by playing off the predator-prey relationships in the ocean, often using this well-known relationship to humorous and ironic effects (as in the way of the sharks and the comedic seagulls which Marlin and Dory encounter). Set in the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, this animated film is the story of a father who will go to any lengths to bring his son home, and of a son who turns his “lucky fin” into his greatest asset. Synopsis by Sierra Smith.
Reichardt. 2019, United States. Set in Oregon during the period of the American frontier, First Cow chronicles the attempts of baker Cookie and hopeful businessman King-Lu to make a life for themselves by selling pastries made with milk stolen from the only cow in their region. The criminal aspect of Cookie’s creations problematizes the validity of the American dream as it is typically conceived, commenting on the necessity of “capital or some kind of miracle” for a poor man to start. Synopsis by Sean Sabye.
The Fish Fall In Love
"Mahiha Ashegh Mishavand". Rafie. 2005, Iran. Rafie’s pragmatic lens on love is essentially One Thousand and One Nights but with food instead of tales. Aziz’s return to his hometown disrupts the lives and potentially the business of Atieh, his past love, her daughter, and business partners. In this rendition, the women attempt to stall Aziz selling his father’s house, in which they now live and run a restaurant, by presenting him with elaborate, delicious dishes each day. The film also explores community, as Aziz later confesses that he yearns to repeat the meals not for the food, which is replicable, but for the surrounding people. The visual density throughout – of people and food/ingredients – in preparation and consumption, encourages the viewer’s eye to latch onto its foil of solitude. There is something disconcerting about these rare instances, and perhaps that is what drives the valiant and at times, desperate, measures the characters take in the name of a return to normalcy, to love, to pairing, to abundance. Life’s lessons are often delivered in food metaphors, though this does not cloak the film in a whimsical, rosy hue. For example, wild fish swim upstream for love, and their struggle is what makes them of superior quality. . . and a preferred dish. Likewise, Atieh’s and Aziz’s ill-fated story is what makes it epic, but that same fate is ultimately what consumes them. Synopsis by Alexis Dumain.
Fleabag S2 E1
Bradbeer. 2019, USA. Though brutally honest and at times considered vulgar, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag effectively explores what it means to be a woman in her late twenties when family life, work, and friendships are slowly falling apart. This particular episode, which won Waller-Bridge an Emmy for screenwriting, analyzes all of these themes over the course of a feast. The family comes together for the first time in months to celebrate the engagement of Fleabag’s widowed father to her former God Mother. Their meal at a fancy restaurant is marked by verbal outbursts, overeager waitresses, excessive amounts of drinking and minimal amounts of eating. Although their reunion has all of the markings of an authentic feast to begin with, it quickly dissolves into the opposite. Old conflicts rise to the surface resulting in emotional and violent altercations putting it at odds with their upscale and serene setting. The feast was supposed to be refined and joyous yet it dissolves into chaos. This deliberate use of the feast to set up and then defy the audience’s expectations makes this episode especially memorable. Fleabag is at once witty, charming, and alarming, and Waller-Bridge masterfully manipulates this extended feast scene in order to develop each character and introduce the tensions that will dominate the rest of the season. Synopsis written by Patrice Mcgloin.
Švankmajer. 1992, Czechoslovakia. Available online at https://vimeo.com/50746661, or as part of compilation here: 65-DVD2786. Švankmajer brings his surrealistic touch to the human process of eating in his 1992 short film, Food. The film is split into three parts, aptly named Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Breakfast expresses a political message against the communist regime of 1970s Czechoslovakia through its portrayal of a prison-like room where men cycle in and out robotically, following instructions hung from their necks on a chain and exchanging roles as eating and dispensing a bland meal. Lunch shifts to a comment on capitalist Czechoslovakia, with two men, one well-clad and another shabby, sitting at a restaurant and gesturing for attention at ant-like waiters in vain. The men, impatient and hungry, begin to devour their surroundings, beginning with the flowers and ending with the wealthy man descending with knife and fork brandished upon the poorer, his ravenous appetite a clear analogy to capitalistic greed and demands. Dinner, the conclusion, portrays a series of individuals consuming their own body parts, their cannibalistic tendencies a nod to the destructive nature of aggrandizing bodily images. Synopsis by Shirley Pu.
Robert Zemeckis. 1994, USA. Forrest Gump is about the journey of a mentally-challanged man as he tells his story to different people on a park bench. In this film, food operates as a symbol of friendship. After enlisting in the army, Forrest and his best friend, Bubba Blue, dream about having their own shrimping company because Bubba and his family love to eat and cook shrimp. After Bubbba tragically dies in the Vietnam War, Forrest keeps this dream alive by making the shrimping company in his honor and memory. Synopsis by Dain Ruiz.
Hancock. 2016, USA. The true story of how salesman Ray Kroc turned a speedy local burger stand into the world’s largest restaurant chain. The simple McDonalds hamburger is a representation of the attention to detail and efficiency that Kroc builds his empire on top of. However, this film strays from the happy-go-lucky story of success and highlights the distrust between Kroc and the McDonalds brothers, underscoring Kroc’s greasy behavior in his takeover of the restaurant franchise.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Avnet. 1991, USA. Evelyn Couch meets elderly Ninny Threadgoode, who tells the story of Idgie Threadgoode, her sister-in-law. The story is mostly centered around Idgie and Ruth Jamison and their close friendship. When Ruth is married, pregnant, and abused by her husband Idgie comes and brings her back to their childhood home. Idgie and Ruth start a café to afford to care for Ruth’s newly born son. Their entire family help the business succeed. Ruth’s abusive husband Frank suddenly dies and Ruth is considered a suspect, until she is let off. She then is diagnosed with cancer and slowly dies. The café closes and many people move away. This ends the story and Ninny comes back to live with Evelyn. Synopsis by Skyler Tapley
Peele. 2017, USA. Chris, a black man, makes a seemingly innocuous visit to the family of his girlfriend Rose Armitage, a white woman. The trip becomes increasingly uncomfortable for Chris as the Armitages and their wealthy white friends make strangely progressive yet racist presumptions about the experience of black people in the United States. The family turns out to be lethal, and Chris must flee to save his body from invasion. A distinct comparison between black individuals and food animals highlight the racial tensions that dominate the storyline. Throughout the meal, animals are tortured by pain, talked about as inferior, and used as taxidermy to foreshadow Chris’s danger. Rose’s consumption of white foods separate from colorful food reveals her racial preferences, even though she seems liberal for the majority of the film. After a killing rampage, the resultant of self-defense, Chris escapes the plantation with the help of his friend Rod. Synopsis by Genna Holtz.
A Ghost Story
Lowery. 2017, USA. A woman grieves for her husband after a car accident unexpectedly takes his life. Her husband’s ghost watches and reflects, unable to console her, or even commiserate in his wife’s sorrow. As the woman begins to process what has happened to her husband, he himself travels through limbo to find a semblance of closure in his life and relationship. Feasting plays a subtle, but unique role, as it is used to subvert the traditional feast and portray it as a vessel for the anger, confusion, and sadness of loss that cannot be verbalized. Food is not used to mourn or remember the lost, but to manifest the pain of the living and dead alike. Synopsis by Davin Lee.
Sherman-Palladino. (2000-2007). USA. Gilmore Girls is a show about a mother-daughter duo that places extreme emphasis on food. Whether it’s the start of their day by going to Luke’s, or the end of the day eating leftovers from Al’s, the girls make sure to indulge and never hold back. It is through food that they reconnect with Richard and Emily Gilmore (their parents/ grandparents) by implementing weekly Friday night dinners. Synopsis by Sara Junuzovic.
Johnson. 2022, USA. Benoit Blanc, played by Daniel Craig, jumps into his next case by the appearance of a puzzle box arriving at his doorstep with an invitation to a murder mystery party, created by tech billionaire Miles Bron, played by Edward Norton. Alongside Bron’s celebrity friends, Blanc gets to the billionaire’s private island to play the game, but the stage wasn’t set just for the game, but also an actual murder to happen. From the start of the dinner, a murder mystery is already set in place, but it was just a game until it’s not. When one of the members of the party after drinking what was presumed to be their drink falls to their death. This film is not a sequel to Knives Out, but rather a successor that combines the previous film’s wittiness, intrigue, and comedy with Johnson’s style for a twist on the classic whodunit film. Synopsis by Hien Le.
Coppola, 1972, USA. The Godfather follows the life of the Corleone family and their organized crime in the 1940s. The movie focuses on the relationship between Vito Corleone, head of the family, and his son Michael who wants to avoid getting involved in the family business. Food is an integral part of the film because it remains connected to the violence. Michael’s first murder takes place in a restaurant and Don Corleone is attacked while grocery shopping before ultimately dying in a field of oranges. Through betrayal, love and loss, it is a story of family loyalty above all, with food as a symbol of desperation for survival. Synopsis by Christina Polge.
The Gods Must Be Crazy
Uys. 1980, South Africa. After a bottle of coca-cola falls from an over-flying plane into a simple Bushman tribe in the Kalahari desert, trouble merges in the clan who have never come into contact with modern technology before. This comedy explores what happens when the tribe leader sets off on a journey to the ends of the earth to be rid of the troublesome object. Synopsis by Markella Patitsas.
Fincher. 2014, USA. Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher, is a suspenseful thriller that revolves around the tumultuous marriage of Nick and Amy Dunne. On their fifth anniversary, Amy mysteriously disappears, leading to a nationwide media frenzy and a police investigation. As secrets unravel, the film navigates themes of deception, manipulation, and the consequences of societal expectations. The narrative delves into the shifting perspectives of the characters, leaving audiences on a rollercoaster ride of suspense, intrigue, and moral ambiguity. With its shocking twists and turns, "Gone Girl" explores the darker facets of relationships and the power of image and perception in modern society. Synopsis by Emily Shih.
Brian Robbins. 1997, USA. This comedy follows Dexter Reed, a highschooler who is forced to get a job after crashing a car without insurance or a drivers license, and the rivalry between two competing fast food restaurants. The eccentric character Ed helps Dexter to get a job at Goodburger, and the film launches into the food-feud between Mondo Burger and Goodburger, with both restaurants attempting to maximize their customer satisfaction in order to outcompete the other. Apparently for the customers of fast-food, bigger doesn’t always mean better and the quality of the sauce is what really separates the two restaurants. This on-the-nose comedy food war explores some of the ethics of fast food, as well as that more light hearted feel-good feeling one gets whenever visiting their favorite fast food chain. Synopsis by Alexander Thornburg.
Richard Donner. USA. 1985. This film is about a group of child misfits who set out to find a pirate’s ancient treasure in order to save their homes from foreclosure. This film contains one scene in which one character named Chunk is held captive with a beast named Sloth. Chunk and the beast bond over sharing a Baby Ruth exemplifying how food, especially candy, can be used to bring people together and create joy out of dark situations. Synopsis by Jalen Heyward.
Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit
Park. 1989, UK. Wallace and Gromit are relaxing at home, trying to determine where to go for their upcoming bank holiday. When they realize they are out of cheese, they determine their holiday will be focused around acquiring more of it. They then have the realization that the best place to go is the moon, because according to Wallace, “everybody knows the moon’s made of cheese.” They build a rocket and reach the moon, where — indeed — the moon is made of cheese. They sample the cheeses before being chased by a robot back into their rocket. As they blast off, the robot remains on the moon skiing happily. Synopsis by Skyler Tapley.
Grave of the Fireflies
Isao. 1988, Japan. World War II orphans Seita and Setsuko are outcast by their distant aunt and abandoned by society. Clinging to the possibility of their father returning from war, the siblings attempt to survive on the outskirts of a village, pillaging and scavenging for any available food. In the climax of Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies, malnutrition strikes and the children slowly starve to death under the apathetic gaze of their fellow villagers. Synopsis by Kristy Sakano.
The Great Gatsby
Luhrmann. 2013, USA. Narrated by Nick Carraway, a wealthy Midwesterner who has come to the island of West Egg, Long Island, to work as a bond salesman, The Great Gatsby tells the story of Jay Gatsby and his pursuit of his long lost lover Daisy. The movie highlights the extravagant feasts that Gatsby would throw every night in the hopes that one day Daisy might come over from her house across the water and be impressed with his incredible wealth. The association of love with food and the extravagance of feasts is central to the plot of this film. Synopsis written by Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez.
Svankmajer. 2001, Czech Republic. When a childless couple learn that they cannot have children, it causes great distress. To ease his wife’s pain, the man finds a stump in the backyard and chops it and varnishes it into the shape of a child. However the woman takes the root as her baby and starts to pretend that it is real. When the root takes life they seem to have gained a child; but its appetite is much greater than that of a normal child. Written by IMDB user Bob the Moo*
The Green Butchers
Jensen. 2003, Denmark. Two aspiring butcher shop owners, Svend and Bjarne, open a butcher shop as an offshoot to their previous boss, Holger. When Holger asks to order meat one day, they resort to cannibalistic tendencies and sell him human flesh fresh from their meat locker. Keeping this secret of cannibalism from their fellow orphan friend, Astrid, and Bjarne’s now recovered twin brother, Eigil, the two men continue to sell meat of their fellow human beings until Bjarne discovers Svend locked Eigil and Astrid in the locker. Soon after, the health authorities come but do not find human meat, but the shop closes down anyways. The four orphans, Eigil, Bjarne, Astrid, and Svend, take a vacation to the beach where it is noticed that Svend and Bjarne enjoy a setting that preserves life. Synopsis by Abhishek Das.
Joe Dante. USA. 1984. This film is about a boy who breaks three rules concerning his new pet his father brought from China, which causes the pet to unleash many mischievous monsters within the boys town. The three rules include no bright light, don’t get him wet, and no feeling him after midnight. The rule about not feeding the pet after midnight plays on the relationship between food and gluttony. Synopsis by Jalen Heyward.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Gunn. 2014. United States. Guardians of the Galaxy follows a group of space pirates, turned heroes, as they look for an infinity stone called the Orb. Marked by humor, adventure, and family, the movie does a fantastic job in the entertainment department. An important aspect of this success was seen in the role of food in the movie. Whether it be the slop they were served in prison or the food-based nicknames for the Orb, food plays an important role in developing the previously mentioned “marks” of the movie. Synopsis by Carson Jolly.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
1967. USA. Kramer. "Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?" takes on the issue of confronting implicit racial bias. In the film, Joey Drayton has brought her black boyfriend, Dr. John Prentice, home to San Francisco to introduce him to her parents and tell them that they are getting married. However, neither the Drayton’s nor the Prentice’s know that either of their children’s partners are of a different race. Throughout the film, the attitudes towards race are metaphorically represented by the food each character has. Specifically, each character exhibits some change in attitude which is also tracked by their choices in food. Ultimately, Joey’s dad who was the strongest opponent agreed that the couple should get married because their love is so deep. Synopsis by Renuka Koilpillai.
Happy Death Day
Landon. 2017, USA. A college student wakes up on her birthday in the bed of a fellow student. As the day goes on, something feels off until she is brutally murdered. After the murder, she wakes up reliving the previous day’s events. She must continue to die and relive the day in a loop until she can find her murderer. Food in this film is weaponized for the purpose of revenge. At the beginning of the film, one of the student’s sorority sisters gives her a cupcake to celebrate her birthday but she does not eat it. Towards the end of the film after unmasking her killer, she eats the cupcake in celebration only to die and awake in another loop. She realizes that it is the cupcake that killed her, and the sorority sister is her true killer. The sorority sister used food to poison and kill because she wanted to get rid of the student. The film’s take on “sweet” revenge presents a unique twist on how food can be weaponized for personal benefit. Synopsis by Savanna Mathis.
Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle
Leiner. 2004, United States. Promising but immature medical student, Kumar, and his best friend, Harold, come under the influence of cannabis after stressful days at work, and both set out on trip to the nearest White Castle to satisfy their culinary desires. After they encounter Harold’s secret love, Maria, in addition to Neil Patrick Harris and a cheetah, the duo arrives at White Castle. The elation and emotional fortitude that both Harold and Kumar experience after concluding their journey at White Castle allow Harold to ask Maria to a date and Kumar to succeed in a medical school interview. Synopsis by Abhishek Das.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Columbus. 2001, UK. With many wild adventures in the world of wizardry in Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, food is the least of the Hogwarts students' problems. As new students, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) enter the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, they’re welcomed with the grand Start-of-Term Feast. A feast that will serve as a way for them to connect with their fellow wizards and witches, discover a newfound family, and fill the void of inclusivity inside themselves. Synopsis by Chantel Gillus.
A Haunting in Venice
Branagh. 2023, USA. The third installment of the modern Hercule Poirot mysteries is an adaptation of Agatha Christie's Hallowe’en Party, in which the famous detective is invited to attend a séance in order to expose the fraudulence of Joyce Reynolds, a self-proclaimed medium. During his time in the palazzo, Hercule is haunted by mysterious visions and shocking murders that he must get to the bottom of. Food is a symbol of deceit and violence—the film utilizes apple imagery in several key moments, such as when Poirot is almost drowned while bobbing for apples, and the jar of honey found in the palazzo is linked to the evil actions of the séance attendees. Synopsis by Zoe Wall.
Vincent. 2012, France. Haute Cuisine depicts the trials and tribulations of Hortense Laborie, a cook for the French President who strives to preserve her passion for the culinary arts regardless of the bureaucratic system. By cooking simple and authentic recipes, Laborie manages to recreate a local and pastoral feast in the jaded and rigid environment of the Élysées. Synopsis by Hoang My Link Luu.
Taylor. 2011, USA. In The Help societal roles are determined by food, namely, who serves and who is served. Some characters question the rationality and morality of these culture norms and strive to fight the inequalities present in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi in small ways- by questioning them, writing about them, and implementing better practices within their homes. Synopsis by Markella Patitsas.
1990. Columbus. The large McCallister family is taking a trip to Paris for Christmas. The night before the trip, Kevin, the youngest of the family, gets in everybody’s way and causes trouble leading him to wish that he had no family at all. During the chaos of leaving for the trip, the family forgets about Kevin, and when Kevin awakes and finds no one in the house, he believes that his wish has come true. Throughout the film, food is used to express how Kevin feels about his place in the family. Kevin starts off feeling excluded which is indicated by the lack of pizza and the food mess created by his fight. He then indulges in junk food when he first realizes he is alone, proving that he is better off without his family. However, Kevin starts to miss his family, and when it becomes apparent he must protect his house from two neighborhood burglars, his eating patterns start to break down. Kevin decides that is his duty is to stop the burglars as the new man of the house. In preparation, he crafts an elaborate trap and cooks a microwave macaroni and cheese dinner to fuel up. Kevin successful stops the burglars, and when he wakes the next morning on Christmas day, he is greeted by his family’s return from Paris. Synopsis by Renuka Koilpillai.
How to Eat Fried Worms
Bob Dolman, Genndy Tartakovsky. 2006, USA. This film is about a fourth grader named Billy who moves to a new town with his family. Billy struggles with transitioning to the new school and encounters the school bully on the first day. The school bully; Joe Guire and his crew target Billy and pick on him on the first day by putting worms in his lunch. Instead of showing his embarrassment, Billy decides to deter the negative attention and eat the worms to show that he is unbothered. You can see the disgust on Billy’s face, however he says that he loves the worms and even fries them from time to time. Billy successfully eats a worm and Joe places a bet for him to eat ten fried worms in one day without throwing up. Although this film teaches individuals to stand up to bullies, it also displays the boundaries society places on the definition of food. Synopsis by Jalen Heyward.
How to Train Your Dragon
DeBlois, Sanders. 2010, USA. This animated film takes place on the fictional island of Berk, home to a clan of Vikings threatened by dragons who steal their livestock. In order to protect their source of food, the Vikings have learned to fight and kill dragons, a practice deeply ingrained in their culture and identity. Hiccup is the outlier in this world of dragon fighters—a scrawny blacksmith, he’s the laughing stock of his town. When Hiccup manages to wound a Night Fury, a legendary dragon no one in Berk has ever laid eyes on before, he has a chance to make a name for himself. Touched by the vulnerability and fear of the creature, Hiccup instead releases the dragon, going against everything he’s been raised to do and believe about dragons. With a peace offering of a fish, Hiccup creates a friendship with the dragon whom he names Toothless, proving that Vikings and dragons don’t have to be mortal enemies. When introduced to a greater threat to Berk than livestock-stealing dragons, Hiccup unites his fellow Vikings and the dragons in order to protect Berk, and to create a world in which the two species can coexist. Synopsis by Sierra Smith.
Howl's Moving Castle
Original Title: Hauru no Ugoku. Shiro. Miyazaki. 2005, USA. Howl’s Moving Castle follows Sophie’s life and interactions with the infamous wizard Howl as Sophie struggles with her new way of life because of a curse given to her out of jealousy. Amidst warring nations, wondrous magic, and a blossoming romance, we follow as Sophie and Howl make unlikely allies with an odd cast of characters, and create their own “family” throughout the course of the film. Food holds a special part in the plot, breakfast specifically, as it allows our characters to recover after physically and emotionally draining events and serves as a ritual for the cast to become not only more familiar with one another, but connected on a deeper and more personal level as well. Synopsis by Alexander Thornburg.
The Hundred Foot Journey
Hallström. 2014, USA. After a mob attacks their village and family restaurant in India, the Kadam family is forced to move to France where they attempt to start a new life. They decide to open a restaurant in a local village, incorporating their traditional Indian spices and ingredients into their menu. Hassan, the eldest son of the family, has a knack for cooking, yet the family struggles to compete with the upscale French restaurant across the street. The film is a journey of competition, artistry, and tradition as Hassan seeks to integrate Indian and French cuisine while overcoming the obstacle of stubborn mindsets and cultural preferences. Synopsis written by Rachel Murray.
The Hunger Games
Ross. 2012, USA. Though far from conventional, this popular dystopian book-to-movie adaptation encapsulates the qualities of the anti-feast. As 24 teenagers are forced to battle to the death to atone for their forefathers sins, the audience is left questioning who is in control, who is fattening them for the slaughter, and what, or possibly who, is being consumed. Synopsis by Patrice Mcgloin.
Hyde Park on Hudson
Mitchell. 2012, UK. The film tells the story of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s love affair with his distant cousin Margaret “Daisy” Suckley amidst the weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen of the United Kingdom visited FDR at his home in Hyde Park, New York. On the brink of war with Germany, the King and Queen of the United Kingdom came to the United States to seek support from FDR, making for an unforgettable weekend with the Roosevelt family. There is an evident cultural and social disconnect between the Roosevelt family and King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth II, however an unsuspecting meal, a hot dog, bridges the gap between the two parties, ultimately giving the United Kingdom the United States’ support in the war. Synopsis by Christian Ortiz.
I Am Love
Guadagnino. 2009, Italy. In the opulent realm of her husband’s aristocratic family in Italy, Emma’s life is a façade of perfection, featuring lavish dinners that conceal her lack of fulfillment. Her ambivalence is challenged when she meets Antonio, her son’s new friend and an incredibly talented chef. Initially intrigued by his dishes, she falls into a passionate love affair with him in this chilling film that slowly deconstructs the foundation of the family that stole her identity. Synopsis by Lan Vy Phan.
Kurosawa. 1952, Japan. Kanji Watanabe is a salary man whose life has only known the endless climb of the corporate ladder. When he is diagnosed with stomach cancer and given a year to live, he embarks on an existential self examination of his life and what could give the time he has left to live a deeper meaning. Feasting is used to portray the rapid evolution of Japanese cultural norms during the era of the film. After the second world war, Japan saw a shift away from traditionalism that led to the Americanization of the youth. We see this reflected in the superficial, almost gauche depictions of westernized crowds juxtaposed over the old and out of place Watanabe. Furthermore, feasting is used to reflect the broken state of Watanabe’s family, as well as his place in the world. Scenes depicting feasting within a family exclude Watanabe, often being used as exposition as to why Watanabe is disliked as to show the disconnect he has from his loved ones due to his fixation with work. The feast is becoming a marketing concept as Japan enters a new age, while its deeper meanings die along with the past generation that was too busy to keep them alive. Synopsis by Davin Lee.
In the Mood for Love
Original title: 花樣年華. Wong. 2000, China. Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung) and Mr. Chow (Tony Leung) rent rooms in adjacent apartments with their respective spouses. The two form a connection and come to realize their spouses are having an affair. Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow communicate through shared glances and intimate gestures more than words; often they share quiet moments over food. The two go on a “date” to a restaurant, where they lightly reenact how their spouses may have wooed one another over sesame soup and mustard steak. Cautious to admit much aloud, they use metaphors around their meal to convey their bitterness about the affair and growing feelings toward one another. Synopsis by Olivia Stoll.
Tarantino. 2009, USA/Germany. Quentin Tarantino delivers the juxtaposed stories of a team of Jewish-American guerilla soldiers dubbed the “Basterds” and a young cinema owner named Shoshanna, both in Europe during WWII and both with the same goal: to dismantle the Nazi party. Tarantino uses food and drink as a way to visualize power hierarchies among characters; what the characters eat and how they eat it shows who’s at the top and who makes the rules. In this case, it’s a milk and strudel-loving Nazi colonel who’s in charge. Synopsis by Oliver Eisenbeis.
Nolan. 2014, USA. In the near future, when mankind can no longer look down to the Earth for food, it looks up to the heavens. As an unstoppable blight slowly makes farming on Earth unsustainable, pilot-turned-farmer Cooper is charged with leading a scouting mission through a wormhole in search of another habitable world. Separated in space and time from his children, Cooper hopes for the day he will return to Earth. This film confronts the consequence of an over-specialized population, where the overzealous pursuit of engineering and science has left humanity without adequate cultivators of the Earth. Moreover, it connects the withering of crops to the sickly wasting of humanity. Synopsis by Michael Palumbo.
Isle of Dogs
Anderson. 2018, USA. After an outbreak of the canine flu spreads in Japan and threatens the safety of humans, Mayor Kenji Kobayashi bans all dogs from Japan and forces them to live on Trash Island. In an effort to find his dog, 12-year-old orphan Atari hijacks a plane and travels to the island. With a new canine pack helping him, Atari and the stray dogs begin a journey that will help to decide the fate of the entire canine population and the city of Megasaki. This film explores governmental distrust, isolation/segregation of a group, and how food is at the heart of our most innocent memories. Synopsis by Emma Moon.
Meyers. 2009. USA & Japan. Jane Adler is divorced businesswoman running her own restaurant. Jane begins a spicy romantic affair with a married man who just happens to be her ex-husband. Jane has a sense of wholeness and peace that is shown through food. Food is Jane’s gateway to conversation with her ex-husband, her means of financial autonomy, and the key to her identity as an independent woman, not confined to the roles of just someone’s mother or just someone’s wife. It’s Complicated reinvents the stereotypical picture of the divorced woman, painting Jane as an exciting and vibrant independent character who is able to use food as her avenue to individuality. Synopsis by Hannah Williams.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Geib. 2012, Denmark. Documents the daily life of Jiro Ono, founder and head chef at Sukiyabashi Jiro, a renowned Tokyo sushi restaurant with a simple menu and exorbitant prices. The film illustrates Jiro’s obsessive relationship with his sushi preparation, reigning dominant over his health and personal relationships. Synopsis written by Martha Isaacs.
The Joy Luck Club
Wang, 1993, USA. The lives of four Chinese immigrant mothers and their Chinese-American daughters unfold as they gather in the Joy Luck Club – where they play mahjong, enjoy traditional Chinese food, and share the ups and downs in their lives. Traditional dishes in the film are culturally significant. Through preparing and sharing these dishes, the characters navigate the complex mother-daughter relationships and the clash of Chinese and American cultures. Eventually, the members find means to reconcile the past and the present. Synopsis by Yuejia Zhang.
Julia and Julia
Ephron. 2009, USA. The story behind the culinary legend Julia Child and New York blogger Julie Powell intertwine as the two women find themselves through cooking. Julia’s road to becoming a cooking extraordinaire is shown alongside Julie’s challenge to cook through Child’s cookbook within a year. The recipes and cooking serve to show the everlasting joy and presence of cooking through time. Synopsis written by Mai Dvorak.
The Jungle Book
Favreau, 2016, United States. Mowgli, raised by wolves, is a boy of the jungle. However, when Shere Khan, the menacing tiger scarred from an encounter with humanity, demands that Mowgli the “man-cub” leave the jungle or he will unleash his wrath on everyone else, the other creatures become on edge and begin to resent Mowgli for the danger he poses. Mowgli’s place as a man among beasts alienates him from the animals of the jungle, particularly in his close relation to element of fire or “The Red Flower.” He is raised alongside organisms, that would be his prey and his food if he had been raised as a normal boy. Mowgli struggles to fight the fact that humanity has ruled over animals for nearly all of time. The animals fear him because of the destruction his kind brings. Mowgli must confront this truth and either embrace it or reject it in order to discover his identity. Synopsis by Elliott Millner.
Spielberg. 1993, USA. Through extraordinary scientific advances and ingenious genetic engineering, scientists have successfully cloned dinosaurs from their preserved genetic material. John Hammond, the mind and money behind this incredible feat, has populated a private island with the ancient beasts and brings a select group (including his two grandchildren) to preview his Jurassic Park. Yet when park systems catastrophically malfunction, the dinosaurs are set free to aimlessly wander the island. What started as a fun vacation has become a scramble for survival. Confronted by the dinosaurs, the visitors come face-to-face with new apex predators. Jurassic Park confronts the philosophical and ethical outcomes of resurrecting extinct life that harbors the intense desire to hunt and eat humans. How will humanity handle no longer being at the top of the food chain? Synopsis written by Michael Palumbo.
The Karate Kid
Avildsen. 1984, USA. The Karate Kid follows Daniel Larusso’s journey in learning mixed martial arts from Mr. Miyagi to protect himself from a group of bullies. Food is primarily used to showcase the cultural differences and build the relationship between Daniel and Mr. Miyagi. When Daniel moves to Japan, he encounters various Japanese foods like sushi and other traditional Okinawan dishes. Interestingly enough, Mr. Miyagi even helps Daniel better his reflexes by making him grab flies out of the air with chopsticks. Through his culinary experiences, the film highlights the culture shock Daniel experiences and his efforts to adapt a new way of life with karate morals. Food serves as a symbolic element, connecting Danial to his surroundings and underlining the broader themes of discipline, mentorship, and cultural immersion. Synopsis by Idhant Khosla.
The Killer Shrews
Kellogg, 1959, USA. This film looks at Thomas Malthus’ theory that human population growth will outrun food supplies. Professor Cragis is in the midst of conducting an experiment aimed at reducing the size of humans to ‘solve’ the overpopulation crisis. However, some of his experiments on ‘shrews’ have gone wrong. An interesting take on genetic modification concerns of the time, the film combines science fiction and horror to create a tense survival story. Synopsis written by Georgia Jeffrey.
Cheney & Woolf, 2007, USA. King Corn is a 2007 documentary following Ian Cheney and Aaron Woolf as they explore the agricultural industry in the United States. Following an isotope analysis of their hair, the pair embark on a journey to discover their body’s main component: corn. After college graduation, Woolf and Cheney move to Green, Iowa. They take control of one acre of farmland, and set off on a quest to grow and harvest corn. This acre of land anchors the film, serving as a microcosm for the corn industry. With their acre of corn in mind, Cheney and Woof explore the government farm subsidy program, discover the Green Revolution’s influence of fertilizer and GMOS on bounty, expose inhumane conditions of corn-fed beef, and critique high fructose corn syrup’s ubiquity in the American diet. With King Corn, Cheney and Woolf masterfully uncover the implications of modern North American foodways. Synopsis written by Maggie Helmke.
Johnson. 2019, USA (65-DVD25117). A private detective is hired to solve the mystery surrounding the death of the patriarch of the Thrombey family. The family’s dysfunction makes them the prime suspects, along with Mr. Thrombey’s apprehensive home nurse Marta. We discover that Marta regurgitates her last meal at any point when she lies. Food in this film becomes weaponized against Marta, both by the detective and the Thrombey family, in an attempt to uncover the web of lies surrounding this mystery. This film has a unique twist on how food can be turned into a manipulative tool for one’s benefit. Synopsis by Savanna Mathis.
Kung Fu Panda 2
Nelson. 2011. United States. Kung Fu Panda 2 continues the journey of Po, the Dragon Warrior, as he learns what it takes to be a hero. Food symbolizes Po’s desire for his “old life” in this installment as the prospect of being the Dragon Warrior takes Po through a whirlwind of emotions. Working in his dad’s noodle shop brings Po back to his past, but even he knows that facing his destiny is inevitable. Eventually, with his home facing imminent danger, Po steps to the plate and faces his destiny with the help of the skills he learned in the kitchen. Synopsis by Carson Jolly.
Kung Fu Panda 3
Nelson. 2016. United States. Kung Fu Panda 3 follows Po through a journey of self-discovery marked by eating. Whether it was training with dumplings and noodles, or bonding with his father through eating competitions, food was integral in his journey. The newly reformed Po was able to rally his food-loving nation together to defeat an enemy threatening to destroy the world and made sure to celebrate with a grand feast. Food continues its dual role as motivation and comedic relief throughout the Kung Fu Panda saga. Synopsis by Carson Jolly.
Lady and the Tramp
Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson. USA, 1955. This film is about a romantic relationship between a rich uptown Cocker Spaniel dog and a street downtown mutt. This film contains the infamous romantic scene where the two dogs share spaghetti and meatballs as they accidently kiss over a shared strand of spaghetti. This film shows how food can bring about synergy and people of different backgrounds together. Synopsis by Jalen Heyward.
The Land Before Time
Bluth. 1988, USA. A prehistoric animated drama about dinosaurs forced to migrate to the legendary Great Valley after their food source is depleted in a drought. When an earthquake separates the dinosaurs, a young brontosaurus named Littlefoot, along with his various dinosaur friends, must find his own way to the Great Valley, following the instructions of his mother who passed away protecting him on the journey. The film is an exploration of friendship through the adventure of the young dinosaurs, and touches on the associations between food and memory, and the power food (and the lack of it) holds over populations. Synopsis by Sierra Smith.
Wang. 2006, USA. Georgia Byrd, a woman who keeps her biggest dreams on the back-burner in order to live a very calculated life, has her perspective changed when she is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Georgia finds joy through food and uses the pleasure of food to live the rest of her life to the fullest. Food becomes the hallmark of a life well lived. Instead of holding back, over-indulging in all aspects of life becomes the essence of “living life to the fullest.” Synopsis by Hannah Williams.
Letters to Juliet
Winick. 2010, USA. The romantic comedy follows Sophie, a fact checker for the New Yorker, who dreams of becoming an established writer. She and her fiancé Victor, a chef whose Italian restaurant is approaching its grand opening, travel to Verona on a pre-wedding honeymoon to spend time together before Victor’s restaurant opens. While in Verona, the couple spend more time apart than together as Victor gets swept away in the food culture of Italy, visiting restaurant suppliers and eventually traveling by himself to a wine auction across the country. Divided by Victor’s obsession with food, Sophie looks for her own purpose and excitement in Verona, happening upon a letter to the Secretaries of Juliet written by Claire Smith, dated fifty years ago. The letter tells of heartbreak and how Claire left her one true love Lorenzo because she was scared to commit to love. When Sophie responds to Claire’s letter, the pair—along with Claire’s cynical grandson Charlie—set out to find Lorenzo, scouring the Italian countryside for true love. Over the course of the film, Sophie is forced to reevaluate her own idea of love, and what kind of relationship she seeks for herself. Synopsis by Sierra Smith.
Life is Beautiful
Benigni. 1997, Italy. Guido and his son are interned in a concentration camp during World War II. As a measure to conceal their harsh reality, Guido transforms their ordeal into a game, promising his son a tank as a prize. Food represents the stark contrast between their dire circumstances and life’s simple pleasures, serving as a symbol of defiance and the enduring bond between father and son. Synopsis by Lan Vy Phan.
Life of Pi
Lee. 2012, Taiwan. Life of Pi is a visually stunning film directed by Ang Lee, based on Yann Martel's novel. It tells the story of Pi Patel, a young Indian boy who survives a shipwreck and ends up stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. The film explores themes of survival, spirituality, and the power of storytelling. Food plays a significant role in the film as it represents both sustenance and the brutality of nature. Pi must catch fish to feed himself and the tiger, which becomes a struggle for survival. The film also delves into the complex relationship between Pi and Richard Parker, highlighting how food becomes a symbol of their shared dependence and the harsh reality of the food chain in the wild. Ultimately, food serves as a metaphor for the struggle for survival and the human-animal connection in an extraordinary and challenging journey. Synopsis by Emily Shih.
Like Water for Chocolate
Arau. 1992, Mexico. Tita, the youngest daughter of three, becomes an incredibly talented cook at a young age and falls in love with a man named Pedro. Due to her verbally abusive mother, strict heritage, and being the youngest in the family, she is denied the opportunity to love Pedro. Tita’s ability to allow others to feel her emotions by eating her food keeps Pedro at bay, and after breaking off a marriage with Dr. Brown, she is safe in her love with Pedro, but both die after Pedro is overcome with happiness and her with sadness. Tita’s forbidden love story and her unique ability to stand in the face of social order to find love is told by her niece, Esperanza. Synopsis by Abhishek Das.
The Lion King
Allers and Minkoff. 1994, USA. Simba, the young lion next in line for the throne, can’t wait to rule over the African savannah. Yet when tragedy strikes with the premature death of Mufasa, Simba’s father, hyenas take over his kingdom, and Simba is forced into exile. In his exile, Simba adopts a new mantra of “no worries,” and lowers himself from peak carnivore to lowly insectivore. When Simba’s past returns to confront him, he must decide whether to leave behind his carefree life, or to take back his rightful spot as king of the savannah. The film repeatedly explores the idea of the “circle of life,” and the interrelatedness of animals as food sources for each other. Through this analogy, the film connects the idea of responsible rule with diet, using carnivorous, insectivorous, and scavengerous creatures as examples. Synopsis written by Michael Palumbo.
Little Fires Everywhere
Tigelaar. 2020, USA. This series takes place in a perfectly planned and troublefree neighborhood outside of Cleveland, Ohio. The series places a low-income African American mother-daughter Warren pair in contrast with the affluent white Richardson family of six, both in a legal conflict in the courtroom and in an emotional conflict over values and morals. The strategic implementation of feasting–ranging from Richardson family dinners cooked by Mia Warren, to free Chinese takeout-for-one for Mia’s daughter–exemplify the class differences and reveal secrets from everyone’s pasts. Synopsis written by Emily Draper.
Little Forest: Winter/Spring
Mori. 2014, Japan. [Not Available] Disenchanted with the frenetic bustle of a big city, Ichiko moves back to her small hometown in the mountains and becomes a self-sustaining farmer and forager. Where the season of winter is characterized by self-preservation and survival amidst the cold, barren landscape, spring heralds renewal with budding crops and foraging wild herbs. Interspersed throughout the film are reflections of a disjointed childhood and reminiscences of heirloom recipes. Little Forest: Winter/Spring is the finale of Junichi Mori’s four-part epic of pastoral culinary perfection. Synopsis by Kristy Sakano.
Donald Petrie. 2018, USA. The film Little Italy takes place in a small town in Canada called Little Italy, featuring two competing pizza restaurants run by separate families. Despite the long history the two families had of working together, a fundamental disagreement between the two patriarchal figures tore them apart. As a result, their respective businesses as well as recipes suffer from the severed connection. Nikki, the daughter of Sal who owns one of the restaurants, returns to the town for a short two weeks on a hiatus from her job as a professional chef, she rekindles a past relationship with Leo. Leo, the son of Vince who owns the competing restaurant, and Nikki bond over their shared love of food and soccer, and lament the broken connection between their fathers. It is only through yet another food competition, and the joining of the two families' recipes once again, that their bond is healed through the power of cooking pizza. Synopsis by Alexander Thornburg.
Little Miss Sunshine
Dayton and Farris. 2006, USA. Once Olive Hoover is given a bid to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant contest, the entire Hoover family packs up their things and travels to California in an old VW bus to support her. However, as the trip continues, relationships and the family’s sanity are put to the test as Olive gets closer to California and the possibility of achieving her wildest dreams. This film explores the concept of societal expectations (how should women look, how should they eat, etc.) and challenges the idea of what it means to be successful. Synopsis by Emma Moon.
Gerwig. 2019, USA. Based on L.M. Alcott’s classic children’s novel, Little Women follows the four March sisters as they come of age in the midst of the American Civil War. This cozy, nostalgic adaptation is true to its source material and features an iconic scene of an expansive Christmas feast. As the March sisters learn and grow, they discover that caring for others and sacrifice ensures happiness in the forms of food, family, and festivities. Synopsis by Maggie Dunn.
The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
Jackson. 2001, USA. This classic hero’s journey follows the hobbit Frodo as he travels across Middle Earth on his quest to destroy the One Ring. Throughout the film we see Frodo and his companions feasting with hobbits, elves, and other inhabitants of Middle Earth. Food is used to create moments of levity and calm as the fellowship rests between hardships, but it also creates conflict and distrust as their supplies dwindle and the journey grows ever more perilous. Synopsis by Justin Tse.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Jackson. 2002, USA A sequel to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, this film follows Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee as they continue their journey to Mordor to destroy the One Ring, guided by Gollum, a creature tortured by his obsession with the ring. As Frodo and Sam continue their quest, the three remaining members of the Fellowship—Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas—work to return order to the kingdom of Rohan, whose king is being manipulated by Saruman. This film delves into the clashes between cultures, often over food, and explores themes of trust, loyalty, and destruction beyond salvation. Synopsis by Sierra Smith.
Batra. 2013, India. When a mistaken lunchbox delivery in Mumbai connects a housewife named Iia and a retired accountant, Saajan together, they begin to build a fantastical relationship through written letters. This epistolary romantic film expresses and passes on emotions and passions of the characters through the food itself that is being transferred. The film demonstrates that ultimately some revolutions simply begin with lunch. Synopsis by Jennifer Lyu.
Lloyd. 2008. Mamma Mia! is a story about a girl named Sophie who has only grown up with her mother, and she wants to find her father so he can walk her down the aisle at her wedding. The wedding ends up not being what everyone expects. The movie wraps up with a feast after the wedding. The wedding party gathered in the courtyard of Villa Donna and celebrated the newly married couple. The feast was not about the food in this scene. The feast was about the people coming together to celebrate someone they care for. Not all feasts are meant to celebrate someone, but the feasts that celebrate someone demonstrate a different kind of community. It shows a network created by those celebrated over their life. With that network, they can connect people from various points in their lives and allow them to make new connections on their own. Synopsis by Caroline Gwaltney.
A Man Called Otto
Forster. 2023, USA. This story follows a man who recently lost the love of his life and makes many attempts to end his life in order to join her. The man who is named Otto soon fosters a friendship with a young new family that moves to town. The mother within this family, named Marisol, brings Otto many Hispanic dishes which could be seen as Otto's new beginning rather than the end. Food is used in this film to signify Otto's beginning, and his future of becoming a well-loved member of their neighborhood. Synopsis by Abby Kliensorge.
Coppola. 2006, USA/France/Japan. “Let them eat cake!” Sofia Coppola’s colorful impressionistic period piece highlights the extravagant life of the young French queen Marie Antoinette. At 19, she leads a lavish life of luxury, surrounded by a constant flow of gorgeous foods, silks, and shoes. Her opulence is never out of sight, with colorful cakes in almost every scene as a reminder of her wealth. However, her outrageous lifestyle is cut short due to the fall of Versailles. Synopsis by Oliver Eisenbeis.
Baumbach. 2019, USA. Charlie and Nicole, artists living in New York, get a divorce and lose themselves in the process. Struggling to define new lives for themselves and their son, Henry, amidst their split, Charlie and Nicole search for comfort. Yet, comfort eludes them as cold chicken and office cookies replace the home-cooked meals of a marriage dissolved. Throughout the film, food serves to underscore the presence and absence of warmth and home in the trials of divorce. Synopsis by Patrick Kaper-Barcelata.
Scott. 2015, USA. Astronaut Mark Watney gets stranded alone on Mars after the rest of his crew retreats from a fierce storm, thinking Watney is dead. The film follows Mark as he struggles to survive by creating water and growing potato plants which must last him years until humans or supplies can be sent to help him. Snack foods fuel Mark’s life-saving ideas and the potatoes he grows are a symbol of intelligence, ambition, and hope. Synopsis written by Andrea Brucculeri.
Master of None: The Thief
Yang. 2017, USA. Our entire lives surround food whether it is a date, happy hour with friends or a family dinner, the majority of our social time is spent surrounded by food. Dev played by Aziz Ansari shows that food is not only a central plot point but a character itself in the exploration of pasta making in Italy. After leaving New York and the culinary culture of fast-paced city, Ansari begins his self-prescribed therapy through the slow and gentle process of pasta making. As the story unfolds, Ansari takes the viewer along a journey of delicious Italian restaurants from famous bistros to family kitchens exhibiting the connection between food and self-care. Synopsis by Junessa Sladen-Dew.
DeVito. 1996, USA. Born into a family of greedy, vain, and uncaring parents, Matilda feels like an outcast. She soon discovers she has telekinetic powers, and she uses these to give all of the mean characters in the film a taste of their own medicine–in particular, the principal of the school, Mrs. Trunchbull. Throughout the film, food is used as a form of punishment, ridicule, and revenge, as Matilda attempts to put each character in his/her place. Synopsis by Rachel Murray.
Caro, 2015. USA. In McFarland, USA, food is more than a meal.. it’s a way of life. Coach Jim White finds himself coaching football in the town of McFarland, California, where most inhabitants work as “pickers” in the surrounding crop fields. Inspired by the endurance of his students who run everyday between their field jobs and the high school, Coach White starts a cross-country team that slowly gains the support of the McFarland community. Coach White and his family learn the power and privilege of food through a town that treats it with reverence and respect. Synopsis by Meg Van Cleve.
Waters. 2004, USA & Canada. Cady Heron, a home-schooled student from Africa, has her ideas of popularity challenged when she crosses paths with the “plastics,” a group of ultra-popular girls in her new American public high school. Cady soon discovers that popularity and the ability to fit in correlate with physical attractiveness which stems from eating habits. Cady dominates the starring role of the “plastics” through the take down of their leader, Regina George. By controlling Regina’s physical appearance through food manipulation and otherwise diminishing her reputation, Cady’s character transforms into a negative figure that reflects the effect the pressures of popularity have on young Americans. Synopsis by Hannah Williams.
Mylod. 2022, USA. Margot, a “common woman,” finds herself amongst the elite when she is hired to accompany Tyler, a foodie, as his date to the prestigious and isolated restaurant Hawthorn. Once there, renowned chef and owner of the restaurant Julian Slowik reveals his plot to punish each of the twelve guests for their respective arrogance, elitism, and ignorance. The film explores the dangers of turning food into a signifier of wealth and artistry, and the consequences of alienating passion in favor of perfection. Synopsis by Na’dayah Pugh.
Merci Pour le Chocolat
Chabrol. 2000, Facnce. In Lausanne, the aspirant pianist Jeanne Pollet has lunch with her mother Louise Pollet, her boyfriend Axel and his mother. Lenna leans that when she was born, a nurse had mistakenly told to the prominent pianist André Polonski that she would be his daughter. André has just remarried his first wife, the heiress of a Swiss chocolate factory Marie-Claire “Mika” Muller and they live in Lausanne with André’s son Guillaume Polonski. Out of the blue, Jeanne visits André and he offers to give piano classes to help her in her examination. Jeanne becomes closer to André and sooner she discovers that Mika might be drugging her stepson with Rohypnol. Further, she might have killed his second wife Lisbeth. Synopsis written by Claudio Charvalho.*
Gregorio. 2008, Italy. Gianni is a middle-aged man living in Rome with his imposing and demanding elderly mother. His only outlet from her and the increasing debt into which they are sinking, are the increasingly frequent quiet sessions at the local tavern. As an Oriental saying goes, ‘Moments of crisis are moments of opportunities’. These appear during the celebration of the holiday of Ferragosto on 15 August. That’s when everybody leaves town to have fun. Opportunity knocks on Gianni’s door in the most unexpected way. Synopsis by J.Hailey*
Nakamura. 2013, Japan. Mikami Akinori is an apple farmer in the village of Tsugaru, Aomori Prefecture. At first, it appears that he is quite content – he married his childhood love, Kimura Mieko, and inherited four plots of apple orchards. But when Mieko falls ill because of the pesticides used in apple farming, Akinori dedicates his research to finding an alternative solution. But removing the pesticides from the apple trees induces an infestation, then a tree disease. Rather than admit defeat, however, Akinori presses on, year after year, as three daughters are born and the family finances dwindle to nothing. But in the 11th year, Akinori experiences a breakthrough and births the first organic apple orchard in all of Japan. Synopsis by Kristy Sakano.
Miracle in Cell No. 7 (7 Kogustaki Mucize)
Öztekin, 2019, Turkey. Based on the 2013 South Korean film of the same name, this film follows a father with an intellectual disability who is wrongly convicted of murder and his six-year-old daughter. A heartbreaking story of love and justice, this film primarily takes place in the Turkish jail where the protagonist Memo unknowingly awaits his death. Memo lives with around 10 other men in the cell and helps to cook their daily meals. Sitting at the cell table and bonding over conversations of Memo’s daughter and wife, the food becomes central to the community and support system the men create for Memo within the cell. As Memo learns how to roll dough and cut watermelon, viewers are reminded of him making candy apples with his mother in the opening scenes of the movie. Eventually, Memo’s daughter is snuck into the cell with a tea cart, and it becomes evident that food and drink are essential to Memo’s resilience and sense of self. Synopsis by Aly Worthem.
Petrie. 2000. Miss Congeniality is about an FBI agent named Gracie who has gone undercover to investigate a bombing threat at the Miss USA pageant. She goes in as Miss Rhode Island, and the FBI hires the best of the best pageant coaches to get her ready for the pageant. They changed her looks and, most importantly, taught her manners. The movie's beginning has a scene where she meets her pageant coach at lunch. She eats without wiping her mouth, has a beer with her food, and talks while chewing. All these things do not elicit pageant girls, especially one in the Miss USA pageant. So, along with teaching her manners, her coach also corrects her on her eating habits. Gracie does conform to the pageant life to complete her mission. However, she does not conform to the eating habits of the pageant girls. The pageant girls talk about their low-carb, low-fat diet. Once Gracie finally gets in with the girls and becomes one of their friends, she takes her chance to take them out for pizza and shots. The scene was of Pageant girls gone wild. The pageant girls were all having fun and not caring how much fat or carbs were in the pizza, which was a big change from before Gracie's arrival at the pageant. Synopsis by Caroline Gwaltney.
Clements and Musker. 2016, USA. Since childhood, Moana, a young Polynesian island girl, has been told to stay within the reef of her island, Motonui. Because of the easy accessibility to food, safety, warmth, and family, her peers unquestionably accepted the decree, but Moana questions otherwise. When disaster strikes her island, Moana leaves home and the comforts of her family and fellow villagers to traverse across the open ocean on a mission to return a stolen trinket to a Polynesian Goddess. Through her journey, Moana discovers the truth to her identity; she is, and always has been, a wayfinder. Synopsis by Kristy Sakano.
Chaplin. 1936, USA. Charlie Chaplin stars as “The Tramp” struggling to navigate industrialized society in his self-directed comedic commentary. The Tramp works on an assembly line where he is mistreated and commodified by his superiors, specifically his boss “The President” who goes to great lengths to maximize productivity. The President tests a ridiculous new “feeding machine” on The Tramp, which mechanically shovels food into workers' mouths to omit the need for a lunch break. The Tramp’s escape from the factory comes when he gets arrested for stumbling into a protest. He ends up liking jail more than his normal life because he can make a full plate of food, but the warden doesn’t let him stay. The Tramp’s fantasy is to live in a house where meals are endlessly available–a cow delivers milk to the door and fruit trees grow through the window. Unfortunately, the closest he can get to this life is prison. Synopsis by Olivia Stoll.
Nossiter. 2004, USA. This documentary features a behind-the-scenes look into the world of wine producers both large and small, from all around the globe. Huge companies such as Mondavi boast how their wines are sold around the globe, while smaller family-owned businesses take pride in maintaining their unique flavor which comes from terroir. Ratings from big-name critics such as Robert Parker can make or break a brand. Mondovino explores the impact of globalization upon taste, and the factors which shape our perception of a “good” wine. Synonpsis by Lindsay Worley.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Gilliam. 1975, Scotland. The Python’s irreverent, wildly humorous classic inventively reimagines the Arthurian quest for the Holy Grail. A diverse range of food imagery occurs throughout the film as one of the many topics on which they turn their insightfully satirical attention, providing a unique lens onto many different aspects of the feast and its associations. Synopsis by Naomi Wagner.
Jenkins. 2016, USA. A coming-of-age story following Black and queer life, Moonlight highlights the importance of food in creating one’s own community. Chiron’s life is chronicled in three acts, each act containing a significant meal with a loved one. Through each meal, Chiron becomes more confident in his sexuality. The final meal takes place in Chiron’s adulthood, and is the first to showcase the preparation of food. This intimate final meal is a reminder of the safety and vulnerability felt upon sharing food in community. Synopsis by Maggie Dunn.
Jewison, 1987, USA. Moonstruck is a rom-com about an Italian American widow afraid of making bad luck for herself who falls for the brother of her fiancée. Her new lover is tortured by his job as a bread baker, and the destructive quality of bread is pursued throughout the film. The characters work through their interpersonal turmoil at the kitchen table, which exposes their emotions and allows them to connect with each other. As the main character acts on impulse, she realizes that she doesn’t have to abandon her newfound love simply to adhere to practicality. Synopsis by Zoe Wall.
Nettelbeck. 2002, Germany. Martha, a talented but mentally unstable chef in a German restaurant, must begin to take care of her niece, Lina, because her sister died in a car crash. In addition, Martha’s chef who was next in line, Lea, has been replaced by a crazy, eccentric sous chef in Mario. As Martha attempts to deal with her new kitchen staff and the new addition to her life, she becomes flustered and looks to cooking as an escape from her troubles, and Lina does the same to cope with the loss of her mother. After Martha is caught being negligent with Lina, and after Martha loses Lina to her father, Martha looks to Mario for help to bring their newfound family together again, and succeeds. Synopsis by Abhishek Das.
Kevin Connor. 1980, USA. Farmer Vincent kidnaps unsuspecting travellers and is burying them in his garden. Unfortunately for his victims, they are not dead. He feeds his victims to prepare them for his roadside stand. His motto is: It takes all kinds of critters…to make Farmer Vincents fritters. The movie is gory, but is also a parody of slasher movies like Last House on the Left. Synopsis by Scott Lanne.*
Beresford. 2016, USA (65-DVD21475). Mr. Church follows the story of a cook who is hired by an ex-lover of a dying mother who was diagnosed with cancer (Marie). Her daughter (Charlie) and Mr. Church form a sort of friendship while he cooks and cares for the family. Food within the film is used to show the care Mr. Church has for the Brooks family which is often showcased. Synopsis by Abby Kliensorge.
Chris Columbus. USA. 1993. This film is about an ex husband who disguises himself as a female housekeeper in order to spend more time with his children held in custody by his former wife. This film displays various gender roles through a culinary lense. Synopsis by Jalen Heyward.
Newacheck. 2019, USA. A washed up cop and his wife end up on a vacation where they are framed for the murder of an elderly billionaire. The characters find themselves amidst luxurious dinners, extravagant parties, and exotic locations, which are used to set the scenes for the unfolding murder mystery. Food is used to create humorous situations and make a joke out of the situation to serve as a contrast to the suspenseful plot. While food does not play a central role to the solving of the murder, food is associated with portraying the lavish settings and contributes to the overall tone and entertainment the director is trying to create. Synopsis by Idhant Khosla.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Zwick. 2002, USA. Toula Portokalos is supposed to marry a Greek boy, have Greek children, and be a perfect Greek woman — meaning she should “feed everyone until the day she dies.” Toula was never a typical Greek girl and ends up falling in love with Ian Miller who is not at all Greek. After much resistance from Toula’s parents, the two decide to get married. Throughout multiple cultural differences related around food — such as the Miller’s giving a Bundt cake to the Portokalos’ and they responding with “there’s a hole in this cake” or Ian being a vegetarian and Toula’s family thinking lamb is a substitute for him — the families finally come together. This coming together is shown by Toula’s father saying “in the end we are all fruit” based on the origin of both last names. Synopsis by Skyler Tapley.
My Dinner with Andre
Malle. 1981, USA. Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, apparently playing themselves, share their lives over the course of an evening meal at a restaurant. Gregory, a theater director from New York, is the more talkative of the pair. He relates to Shawn his tales of dropping out, traveling around the world, and experiencing the variety of ways people live, such as a monk who could balance his entire weight on his fingertips. Shawn listens avidly, but questions the value of Gregory’s seeming abandonment of the pragmatic aspects of life. Synopsis by Rick Gregory.
My Octopus Teacher
Erlich and Reed, 2020. South Africa. My Octopus Teacher is a documentary that follows free diver Craig Foster as he explores underwater ecosystems off the coast of South Africa. Through his diving, Craig befriends a female octopus who he follows for months on end, observing her vibrant life and learning lessons about persistence and curiosity. This glimpse into the mysterious underwater world exposes new aspects of feasting, highlighting the thought and creativity that goes into finding a meal. The life cyle can be cruel, but Craig finds restoration through his octopus teacher, and the film offers a compelling naturality to the primal parts of life. Synopsis by Meg Van Cleve.
Petrie. 1988. USA. Kat and Daisy are Portuguese-American sisters who work with their friend Jojo at Mystic Pizza, owned by Leona. Kat wants to be an astronomer and is working to raise money for college after she’s been accepted to Yale on a scholarship. Daisy just wants to enjoy herself. Jojo is terrified of commitment. Daisy begins a relationship with a man she meets at a bar, but he uses her Portuguese identity to rebel against his parents. Kat falls in love with the father of the child she babysits. Jojo backs out of her wedding. Throughout the film, despite their romantic struggles and uncertainty about the future, the girls connect with each other serving pizza. The parlor makes their lives better and teaches them invaluable lessons about connection, collaboration and love. When a famous food critic comes to the pizza parlor, he only takes a few bites of a single pizza slice before leaving. In his review, he calls the pizza “superb” and gives his highest rating to Mystic Pizza. The movie ends with the three girls overlooking the water from the restaurant’s balcony. As they bond over their time together, still wondering what Leona puts in the pizza to make it so good, it’s clear that their growth wouldn’t have been possible without the power of food to create community. Synopsis by Christina Polge.
Nankyoku ryorinen (The Chef of South Polar)
Okita. 2009, Japan. Nishimura has a passion for cooking, but never would he have imagined the task before him now - he is unexpectedly assigned to a south polar mission to serve as head chef at the Dome Fuji station. Leaving wife and daughter behind for a year, he and the other crew members experience one existential crisis after another in the icy cold. And then they run out of Ramen! Synopsis by Pehr Meretyk.*
Nina's Heavenly Delights
Pratibha Parmar, Britain, 2006. This film is about Nina Shah who returns to Scotland for her father’s funeral and discovers that her family’s restaurant is for sale. Her father entered a “Best of the West” cooking competition before he died, and Nina vowed to enter the competition and win for him and the fate of the restaurant. As soon as the competition and Nina’s kitchen heats up, her passion for food and her partner Lisa rises. This film displays how food can be used for motivation. Synopsis by Jalen Heyward.
Hicks, 2007, USA. Kate Armstrong, a perfectionist chef, faces a life change when she becomes guardian to her niece Zoe after her sister's death. In this remake of Bella Martha (Mostly Martha), her culinary life is once again disrupted by the arrival of a new sous-chef, Nick Palmer, who brings a different approach to the kitchen. As Kate struggles to reconcile her career with new parenthood, she discovers that food has the power to connect and heal, both for her and Zoe. Synopsis by Yuejia Zhang.
O Brother Where Art Thou
Coen and Coen. 2000, USA. A group of escaped convicts go in search of a large fortune. Along the way they encounter various types of hospitality including an unfortunate run-in with Big Dan, a Bible salesman who cons the travellers while schmoozing them over a lunchtime meal. Parallels with Homer’s Odyssey in cooperation with a Southern setting investigate of what it means to be good Southern host. Synopsis by Markella Patitsas.
Soderbergh. 2001, USA. (Not Available) Eleven thieves of varying specialties assemble to plan the robbery the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas. They are led by Danny Ocean, who wants to be reunited with his wife who has left him for Terry Benedict, owner of the Bellagio. Rusty Ryan, Ocean’s right-hand man, inconspicuously but constantly consumes fast food while they plot the casino’s demise. They successfully achieve the seemingly impossible heist through clever, innovative, and cutting deceit. Synopsis by Genna Holtz.
Joon-ho. 2017, USA. Since childhood, Mija, a young South Korean girl, has been a caretaker and constant companion to Okja – a special kind of super pig. But everything changes when the agro-chemical Mirando Corporation takes Okja from Mija and transports her to New York, where its image obsessed CEO has big plans for Mija’s closest friend. Okja’s oppressors plan to provide the world with cheap yet high quality meat by any means possible. With no plan besides her desire to protect her best friend, Mija sets out on a rescue mission and leads a protest against factory farming and genetic engineering, while allying herself with groups such as the Animal Liberation Front, who want to take Okja for themselves. Synopsis by Marcella Pansini.
Chan-wook. 2003, South Korea. Oh Dae-su, played by Choi Min-sik, is mysteriously imprisoned for 15 years without knowing the reason. During his captivity, he is provided with meals that are simple, yet essential for his survival. These meals become a routine part of his life in captivity, emphasizing the monotony and bleakness of his situation. Later in the story, when Dae-su is released and seeks revenge, he encounters a memorable scene in a sushi restaurant. This scene involves him devouring a live octopus, showcasing the character's desperation, primal instincts, and the psychological toll of his imprisonment. Dae-su also seeks for his captor to enact revenge by searching different Chinese restaurants to find who sourced his meals during his captivity. This is a story about revenge and how it consumes everyone involved and how the cycle of violence never ends until death. Synopsis by Hien Le.
Reed. 1972, United States. The film follows Oliver Twist, a young orphan who longs for companionship. Every day, when Oliver and his fellow half-starved orphan boys enter the workhouse dining room for dinner, they are fed only thin gruel, but find comfort in imagining a richer, more exotic menu. One day, Oliver gathers up the courage to ask for more food and he is immediately told to gather his belongings by Mr. Bumble and the Widow Corney, the heartless and greedy caretakers of the workhouse. Bumble and Corney treat Oliver and his fellow orphans solely as sources of labor and feed them only the bare minimum to stay alive and complete the work that needs to be done. Due to a lack of familial relationships, food is the only source of comfort for the orphans. It is also an object of desire as nutritional or enjoyable food is often denied to them. After Oliver escapes the orphanage, he is taken in by a group of pickpockets, led by the Artful Dodger and Fagin. When Oliver is falsely accused of stealing a wallet, he is rescued by the wealthy Mr. Brownlow, to the anger of the merciless and thieving Bill Sykes. After a failed house robbery, Sykes kidnaps Oliver, with tragic results for Sykes’s kind-hearted lover, Nancy. Synopsis by Marcella Pansini.
Shindo. 1964, USA. After being forcefully inducted as a soldier into war in 14th-century Japan, his wife and mother remain living in a swamp. They eke out their living by ambushing worn-out warriors, killing them and selling their belongings to a greedy merchant. The woman comes to mistrust her daughter-in-law who has coupled up with a deserter, and begins to wear a facial mask she has taken from a slain samurai. Soon the mask will not come off again. In this disguise she is at first taken for a demon by her daughter. Synopsis by Michael Jurich.
King. 2017, UK, France, & USA. (Not Available) Paddington, a marmelade-loving bear living with a wonderful family in Windsor Gardens, finds himself in jail on account of a false accusation. Through Paddington’s courageous choice to propose much-needed innovation in the jail cafeteria, Paddington forms relational bonds with the most callus characters in the film. Food, and the creativity involved in baking, bonds hyper-masculine felons in the areas words and explicit communication fall short. Synopsis by Hannah Williams.
Joon-ho. 2019, South Korea. A lower-class Seoul family (the Kims) cons their way into working as a tutor, art therapist, driver, and housekeeper for a wealthy family (the Parks). The role of food in Parasite is primarily a sinister materialization of class struggles. The Parks treat food and cooking as a throwaway commodity, whereas the Kims are anxiously chasing down their next meal. The film culminates in an extravagant birthday party for the Park's young son, which ends with murder by a meat skewer–the ultimate food as a weapon. Synopsis by Olivia Stoll.
Garcia and Tyldum. 2016, USA. On a 120-year trip to a new planet, Jim Preston wakes up from a medically-induced ageless sleep 90 years too early. The film follows him as he wakes up Aurora Lane and struggles to save the space ship of over 5,000 passengers from ultimate destruction. The food and bar become symbols of comfort and humanity for the two protagonists, and the bond formed at food-related settings is one that lasts a lifetime. Synopsis by Andrea Brucculeri.
Anderson. 2017, United States. The fastidious and controlling Reynolds Woodcock heads the most prestigious fashion house in the UK. Alma, a fortitudinous waitress Reynolds meets in the country, is the first person ever to chastise him for his juvenility and bullying. She makes fun of the fragility of his breakfasts and how particular he is about the food he chooses to eat. As she turns from his muse to lover, their volatile relationship becomes emotionally and verbally abusive. Alma prepares an intimate dinner for the two of them to try to rediscover each other, but Reynolds rebukes her and chooses not to recognize her efforts to love him. To salvage their life together, Alma utilizes poisonous mushrooms to weaken her husband physically and mentally and to make him recognize the fragility of life itself. The allows him to rely on her, fall back in love with her, and ultimately greatly strengthens their relationship. The dinner Alma prepares for Reynolds, breakfast meals, and Alma’s creative use of mushrooms shows that food is love, and when prepared properly, can strengthen body and soul. Synopsis by Genna Holtz.
Gaztelu-Urrutia. 2019, Spain. El Hoyo, or The Platform, is a dystopian thriller where prisoners in a vertical prison are served a sumptuous feast on the upper floors, but as the platform descends, food diminishes. The film explores the dark side of human nature, as feasting becomes a metaphor for inequality, greed, and survival in a brutal society. Despite how lavish the feast may seem, there are no utensils for the prisoners to use as they feed. This symbolizes chefs’ disregard for dignity and humanity as the prisoners are seen as no more than animals in a cage. Synopsis by Emily Shih.
Gabriel and Goldberg.1995, USA. When Captain John Smith and his company of English soldiers arrive in the New World, conflicts emerge from a difference in Algonquin and English customs. The Algonquin’s lifestyle is heavily dependant on the earth, especially the cultivation of corn, while the English hope to introduce Eastern imports and foodstuffs to the tribe. The English must learn how to make a sustainable living in harmony with the earth. Synopsis by Markella Patitsas.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Céline Sciamma. 2019, France. A modern queer and feminist classic, Portrait of a Lady on Fire uses cooking to comment on desire and servitude. Two women, Héloïse and Marianne, fall in love in eighteenth-century France. With their maid Sophie, the women show desire through cooking. The two upper-class women cook while Sophie eats, subverting power structures. The film concludes by drawing a parallel to the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, as temptation and desire plague Héloïse and Marianne for the entirety of their lives. Synopsis by Maggie Dunn.
Marshall. 1990, USA. The idyllic expectation of behavior in upper-class American society is shown through the use of gourmet food in Pretty Woman. Vivian Ward, a prostitute in LA, becomes part of the life of a wealthy man named Edward. The social and cultural divide between Vivian and Edward is demonstrated through the use of social etiquette, especially etiquette surroundings meals and food consumption. The barriers that discourage Vivian from accepting the role of a wealthy woman are outlined through her ignorance in proper behavior, especially during meals. Synopsis by Hannah Williams.
Pride and Prejudice
Wright. 2005, UK. The Bennet family resides in the countryside of Meryton, England in the 18th century. Mrs. Bennet’s chief aim is to marry off her five daughters. The chance of an advantageous match becomes more possible with the arrival of the wealthy Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy who take a nearby house for a season. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy’s adversarial interactions rife with social, economic, and political overtones. The tensions between them are cinematographically captured through food. Uncomfortable meals at the Bennet household and Rosings Park demonstrate that power and food are intrinsically tied and dictate who belongs to higher social circles. Synopsis by Genna Holtz.
The Princess and the Frog
Clements and Musker. 2009, USA. Tiana lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, and has worked her whole life to achieve her childhood dream of opening a restaurant. The dream began with her father who also loved to cook, but unfortunately passed away. In the present day, she works at a restaurant as a waitress. While working one day, her friend hires her to cook her famous beignets for a party welcoming Prince Naveen of Maldonia, who is turned into a frog by a voodoo magician. In an attempt to cure himself, the frog accidentally turns Tiana into a frog as well. The two frogs are chased out of the party and into the Bayou. While trying to get back to the city, they actually find their answers to their problems through food. A magical gumbo and Tiana’s cooking ability highlight that the two frogs are in love with each other. The film ends with the two frogs getting married and turning back into humans. Synopsis by Renuka Koilpillai.
Coppola. 2023, USA. Priscilla, a biographical drama directed by Sofia Coppola, follows Priscilla Presley’s relationship with famed rock star, Elvis Presley. Priscilla struggles to claim autonomy in her relationship from the onset, dictating little of when she sees Elvis, how she looks, where she lives, and even what she eats. Nowhere is this more evident than in Elvis’ home, Graceland, where Priscilla stays with Elvis in his bedroom for days on end. Their meals are brought up in trays and set outside the door, underscoring Priscilla’s lack of control over her life. In addition to food, Elvis also dictates Priscilla’s consumption of drugs— giving her pills to take whenever he wants. Closely controlled by Elvis for the majority of her young life, Priscilla eventually finds liberation in leaving her marriage. Synopsis by Patrick Kaper-Barcelata.
A Private Function
Mowbray. 1984, UK. A British comedy set in 1947 post-war Britain. Princess Elizabeth is about to marry and the country wants to celebrate with her but rations make the most desired food, meat, hard to come by. Joyce and Gilbert Chilvers steal an illegal pig in hopes to raise their status in the community but Gilbert cannot bring himself to kill it. Issues of masculinity, class and attachment to animals are played out in this comical star-studded film. Synopsis by Georgia Jeffrey.
Tarantino. 1994, USA. Two hit men, a mob boss, his wife and a boxer all seem unrelated, but their lives are woven together through both an unconventional film structure and continuous consumption/discussion of food. Hamburgers, pancakes, pop-tarts and coffee serve as dishes that characters bond over, but are also used to assert power and introduce gratuitous violence. Synopsis by Oliver Eisenbeis.
Bird. 2007, US. Remy, a talented chef of a rat, comes into contact with an untalented chef, Alfredo Linguini, and decides to use him as a mode to express his expertise in cooking. As the secret duo becomes better at making food, questions start to arise in the management of Gusteau’s, the restaurant, about the validity of Linguini. As Linguini takes on a rocky adventure of fame and struggles with coworker relationships (including Remy), he finds importance in Remy and let’s all others know, even the staunch food critic that tells the fate of their restaurant, Gusteau’s motto: anyone can cook. Synopsis by Abhishek Das.
Ducournau. 2017, Belgium. (Not Available) Justine, an innocent lifelong vegetarian and aspiring veterinarian, enters university only to find herself sucked into a dangerously seductive world filled with sadistic hazing rituals. Frantic to fit in, she disobeys her parents and her own principles to eat raw meat for the first time whilst being hazed. This initial taste of flesh awakens something primal and starving within Justine, and her hunger threatens to expose a long hidden family secret. Justine’s newfound cannibalism transforms her into a brazen seductress and she soon becomes intoxicated by the taste of blood, which becomes her drug of choice. The young student soon suffers as chasing her desire for flesh causes her true self to emerge, to the detriment of those around her. Synopsis by Marcella Pansini.
Iñárritu. 2015, United States. Glass, an explorer during the 1800s, sets off on an expedition with other men to chart unexplored Native American territory. After weeks of hardships, men dying, and food sources depleting, Glass and the rest of the men must resort to eating raw meat in the frigid tundra, but the meat is not viable enough to provide them sustenance. After weeks of this lifestyle and being attacked by natives and wild animals, only Glass remains to kill the man that killed his son. Only Glass saw the importance in cooking his meat to retain nutrients and keep himself alive. Synopsis by Abhishek Das.
Pasolini. 1963, Italy. In La Ricotta, Pasolini uses food not merely as a symbol of inequity, but as the most tangible element of hypocrisy and exclusion. The Italian auteur portrays separation and starvation as ironic elements of the feast that exist in the Roman Catholic society he critiques.*
Hillcoat. 2009, United States. Nameless main characters “the boy” and “the man” travel through a post apocalyptic wasteland in a quest to survive. The two must overcome extreme weather, cannibals, and starvation as they travel down a seemingly never-ending road. The food these two share is a symbol of their love for one another and the way they take care of each other as the odds and the elects fight against them. Synopsis by Andrea Brucculeri.
John G. Avildsen. USA, 1976. This film is about a small town boxer who gets the chance to fight the heavyweight champion Apollo Creed. He wishes to win in order to gain respect from others and himself. One of the scenes in this film contain Rocky waking up early in the morning to drink five raw eggs before training. This scene shows us how committed Rocky is to preparing for his fight and that food is ultimately supposed to be fuel. Synopsis by Jalen Heyward.
Amaris. 2010, USA. What happens when a man and a woman share a common passion? They fall in love. And this is what happens to Jean-René, the boss of a small chocolate factory, and Angélique, a gifted chocolate maker he has just hired. What occurs when a highly emotional man meets a highly emotional woman? They fall in love, and this is what occurs to Jean-René and Angélique who share the same handicap. But being pathologically timid does not make things easy for them. So whether they will manage to get together, join their solitudes and live happily ever after is a guessing matter. Synopsis by Guy Bellinger.
Brett Ratner, 1998. USA. This film is about a Chinese diplomat’s daughter being kidnapped in Los Angeles. Inspector Lee is called in from Hong Kong to help assist with detective James Carter from the LAPD. Although detective James Carter is African-American and Inspector Lee is Chinese, they put their cultural differences aside and work together in order to locate and bring back the diplomat’s daughter. There are a lot of stereotypes within this comedic film including one scene that incorporates foreign perception of an ethnicity's culinary culture. Synopsis by Jalen Heyward.
Conrad Vernon, Greg Tiernan. 2016, USA. This film is about anthropomorphic food items that dream to be selected by human shoppers so that they can reach “The Great Beyond”. This film is very raunchy, foul-mouthed and offensive. It blatantly stereotypes ethnic groups and their culture. The plot of this movie begins at a supermarket entitled Shopwells. The main character is Frank who is a sausage who dreams of living with his hot dog bun girlfriend Brenda in “The Great Beyond”. Both Frank and Brenda’s packages are selected by a human shopper, however their packages are ripped causing them to fall onto the floor of the supermarket. This causes an accident leading to the human shopper spilling all her items and deterring the dreams of the food items from reaching “The Great Beyond”. Long story short, Frank finds out that “The Great Beyond” is a lie and it is where food items go to be abused and killed by the human shoppers. The movie involves Frank trying to tell Brenda and other food items the truth about “The Great Beyond”. Synopsis by Jalen Heyward.
The Scent of Green Papaya
Huang. 1993, USA. A little girl, Mui, went to a house as a new servant. The mother still mourns the death of her daughter, who would have been Mui’s age. In her mind she treated Mui as her daughter. 10 years later Mui (now a young woman) was sent to another family, a young pianist and his wife. The musician falls in love with the peasant, he taught her literacy and they eventually married. A movie about a girl’s life. Synopsis by Zheng Wang.
Gosnell. 2002, USA. Two years after their tumultuous break-up, the members of Mystery, Inc. reluctantly reunite to solve a mystery on Spooky Island, a hotspot for college students on spring break. Supposedly ruled by demons in its ancient past, Spooky Island has been plagued by the chronic disappearance of its patrons. Cowardly and easily frightened, Scooby-Doo (the titular anthropomorphic dog) and Shaggy will do near-anything in exchange for a Scooby Snack dog treat. The film connects food, motivation, and bravery. Moreover, it examines gluttonous over-consumption and the dichotomy between true hunger and superficial desire. Synopsis by Michael Palumbo.
The Secret Life of Bees
Prince-Blythewood, 2008. USA. Escaping her troubled past in 1960’s South Carolina, Lily Owens leaves her father and finds spiritual healing that is catalyzed by an encounter with jars of Black Mary honey. Her stay at the home of the beekeeper Boatwright sisters, the source of these jars, is similar to the Israelites entrance into the promised land of milk and honey, representing food’s religious and restorative power. Synopsis by Maggie Rutherford.
The Secret Life of Grain
Abdellatif Kenchiche, 2007, France. This film is about the life of a struggling French-Arab family. Slimane wants to open a portside restaurant specializing in his ex-wife’s couscous and fish, the family’s passion and problems escalate throughout the movie displaying how food food plays in family life and the core of the immigrant experience. Synopsis by Jalen Heyward.
The Shape of Water
Del Toro. 2017, Canada. The Shape of Water, directed by Guillermo del Toro, is a romantic fantasy film set in the early 1960s during the Cold War. It follows the story of Elisa, a mute, lonely, and isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a high-security government laboratory. She discovers and forms a unique bond with an amphibious, humanoid creature being held captive in the facility. Food in the film plays a significant role in several ways. First, it serves as a symbol of Elisa's kindness and her efforts to connect with the amphibious creature. She shares her lunch with him, using food as a means of communication and nurturing their relationship. Food also symbolizes her desire for a deeper connection and a sense of belonging. Additionally, the film explores the contrast between the sterile, institutional food at the laboratory and the more personal and intimate meals that Elisa enjoys at home, emphasizing the importance of human connection and the need for empathy in a cold and bureaucratic world. Synopsis by Emily Shih.
The Shawshank Redemption
Darabont. 1995, United States. After big-shot stockbroker Andy Dufresne is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for killing his wife and her lover, he tries to make the best of his situation. The movie follows Andy on his almost 20 year journey in Shawshank prison as he struggles to make his way up in the system by trading his knowledge of accounting for special privileges from the warden. The film analyzes the monotony of prison food and the dehumanization it goes along with. The movie also makes a statement about how food from the outside world can make a person feel normal in prison, if even for a second. Synopsis by Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez.
Seligman. 2020, USA. Shiva Baby follows the story of a young woman, Danielle, who returns from college life in the city to her suburban Jewish community for a shiva. As she navigates the gathering, Danielle indulges in finger food while enduring the scrutiny of gossiping relatives, family friends, and strangers. Amidst whispered criticisms and direct confrontations, she faces judgments about her body, weight, sexuality, and, the dread of all college seniors, her life plans. Danielle hides behind food. It's a way to bide time in between uneasy conversations with her sugar daddy, Max, his wife, or her ex-girlfriend, Maya. Her relationship with food mirrors her approach to sexual liberation, both serving as expressions of her physical autonomy in an otherwise powerless situation. Synopsis by Laura Tinkler.
Adamson and Jenson. 2001, United States. An isolated ogre finds himself on a journey to rescue a beautiful princess and bring her to a wealthy lord. Although the ogre and princess come from dramatically different backgrounds, commonalities regarding food begin to bridge the gap between them. When the two share meals and snacks along their journey, not only do they bond over their fortunes and misfortunes, but they learn that they aren’t so different after all. Synopsis by Andrea Brucculeri.