T500FC, 495th: Babette’s Feast (Gabriel Axel, 1987)


Simple yet poignant, religious yet irrational, brave yet traditional. Whatever they may mean is what I would describe this 1987 Danish classic that earned prestigious awards such as the Best Danish Film of the Year and the Best Foreign Language Film at the 1987 Academy Awards. It beat the French film, Au Revoir, Les Enfants, in the said category.

Gabriel Axel, the director, gives us a tale of two sisters who employs Babette for free; or that is what Babette imposed to the two sisters. Told with a narrator on some parts of the film, the movie starts with the introduction of how Babette entered the lives of the two sisters. The sisters, who are the remaining living relatives of a religious sect in their area, still managed to survive with the small group of people who still believes in them. It was all right all along when Babette wins the lottery. And the winner celebrates the win, hence the title of the film.

The small town feel is definitely impressed all throughout the film. There was a sense of the film being boring, since most films with this kind of setting is usually leading to that way but to my surprise it was engaging, filled with subtlety, up until the end. It was also sort of religious on the side that’s why whenever I look for the top religious films or the top holy weeks film to watch, Babette’s Feast always come up.

Despite having only three main characters in the film, you’d certainly notice a fine acting especially with Babette and the sister who sings. I personally understand why they were doing such things. With the sisters’ conservative group clashing with something new, like what Babette introduces to them. Light humor was certainly prevalent in some parts of the film, it wasn’t offensive in any sense and that’s what made this film good.

Denmark’s cinema has gone through a lot, producing a classic such as this or eye-openers such as Lars Von Trier’s Idioterne and Jessica Nilsson’s All About Anna. As said, Babette’s Feast is a must see for the family, a good moral movie even if it is viewed decades after it was initially released.


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