Babette's Feast


Starring Stephane Audran, Birgitte Federspiel and Bodil Kjer

Screenplay by Gabriel Axel from a story by Karen Blixen

Directed by Gabriel Axel

Production year 1987                             

Running time 102 minutes

  One of the biggest art house hits of the 1980s this delightful and uplifting period drama was the winner of both the BAFTA and the Oscar for best foreign language film.

  Set in a remote Danish village in the 19th century Babette's Feast tells the story of two ageing spinster sisters who preside over a dwindling congregation after the death of the father - the Pastor of a Christian sect. Babette Hersant,  a refugee from Paris arrives on their doorstep and becomes their housekeeper. After many years in service to the sisters she is accepted by the austere community and when she wins a 10,000 franc lottery prize Babette decides to show her thanks by preparing an extraordinary banquet for the village.

  Beautifully scripted and performed Babette's Feast perfectly captures the rhythms and tones of the narrow society it portrays. The original story was written by Karen Blixen, who was herself portrayed by Meryl Streep in the celebrated romantic drama Out Of Africa.

  The cinematography by Henning Kristiansen accentuates the dark interiors of the houses and artfully celebrates the culinary extravagance of the climatic meal. Babette was originally intended to be played by Catherine Deneuve but the role went to Stephane Audran - who gives perhaps the finest performance of her distinguished career.

  Babette's Feast was recently identified by Pope Francis as his favourite film so unusually we have Vatican approval for this screening.