A feast for the eyes, and ears, and heart

May 17, 2010

It might sound somewhat off message but bear with me. After sitting in the cinema on my own barely breathing, I had to post something about this new film with Tilda Swinton I Am Love.


It’s the story of a woman, the Russian wife of a stiff Italian industrialist, who embarks on a passionate affair (obviously. Aren’t they always? Isn’t that the point?) with a young chef. Entirely, as far as I can see, because of the way he cooks a prawn. The moment when she tastes the dish he makes for her, slowly sliding her knife (a fish knife, incidentally, the continued use in swanky restaurants of which item of cutlery fills me with red-tinged rage, but that’s another post) through the flesh of the glistening prawn while all the sounds of polite conversation and tinkling china around her fade into the background, is the most evocative expression I have ever seen on film of what happens when you taste something that completely blows your mind. It made me want to go out and find myself a chef, immediately.

On a cultural note, it’s the sort of film that appeals to all the senses. It looks glorious, the sound, especially the music, bypasses your brain and grabs at your heart, and you can practically smell the food, the countryside, the sun-drenched city.  It should be added very close to the top of the woefully short list of great foodie films (another favourite is La Grande Bouffe, though that’s a rather different proposition, I admit). It is understated but heart-stoppingly dramatic at the same time – there’s an operatic quality about it, without the singing or the improbably large women posing as flighty ingenues. Go and see it.

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