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Food Films Festival Screens Next Week to Benefit the Biblioteca Publica’s Scholarship Fund

By Ruth Milikin

The Food Films Festival is the passion project of the festival co-producers, Eva Eliscu, Rhonda Hiebert Lerner, Ruth Milikin, and Kirsten West. We united in this endeavor from our shared interests in world cuisine, culinary history, hospitality, food films, and volunteerism. We invite you to join us and to read here about festival events to benefit La Biblioteca’s Scholarship Fund.

Food Films Festival
February 16–18, 11am and 6pm
Teatro Santa Ana
La Biblioteca
Three-day festival pass 850 pesos
Individual screenings 160 pesos
The Chef Chronicles 50 pesos

The films, lectures, and food selected for the inaugural Food Film Festival illuminate aspects of culture, aspiration, place, history, experience, and emotion, each resonating with the basic human need to nurture and be nurtured.

Lasse Halstrom’s film Chocolat is at once a sensual and whimsical tale about a single mother who moves to a tiny French village and wins the closed hearts of the locals with a rich, dark ingredient.

Like Water for Chocolate, a magical realism drama from Mexican director Alfonso Arau, explores the power of food and its ability to draw strong emotions from the sensual to the incendiary from its wedding banquet guests. You’ll never doubt the power of a great recipe after viewing this film. The Japanese comedy Tampopo, promoted as the “first noodle western,” tells the story of a widow who dreams of opening the ultimate noodle bar. Through several interwoven stories, we learn about the relationship the characters have with food. The unexpected emotions evoked and the social conceits are sure to amuse and entertain you.

The Danish drama Babette’s Feast stands as one of the greatest food films committed to celluloid. The tension between self-denial and sensual experience is the central conceit. The film is an homage to the heart and soul of a chef who spares nothing to execute the greatest meal of a lifetime.

Another magical realism offering, Woman on Top, starring Penelope Cruz, is a cinematic amuse-bouche. The story follows a chef from her small Brazilian beachfront restaurant to her success as a television chef in San Francisco. Sensuous recipes, samba music, and Brazilian culture and folklore infuse the film with a breezy lightness that will leave the viewer with a mood to match.

The Big Night, directed by, co-written by, and starring Stanley Tucci, is a drama about two restaurateur brothers struggling to revive their Jersey shore restaurant. One approaches the enterprise as art, the other as a business endeavor. Therein lies the rub. Both place their faith in an appearance by Louis Prima for the restaurant’s big night of culinary excellence.

Local sponsors will pay homage to each film’s theme or country of origin through specially prepared appetizers and beverages created for a reception following each screening. A themed appetizer and beverage is included with your ticket purchase. Join us! This pleasurable event will benefit local youth, changing lives through education.


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