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Babette's Feast

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Babette's Feast was a difficult film for me to decipher simply because it isn't something I'm used to. Movies, particularly American movies, were always a source of comfort for friends and myself. It would be a way for us to have a good time, relax, have a laugh, and not think so much. This film, however, was not relaxing. This film required much attention from me because I couldn't easily get what was happening. Even when the film ended, I had to recall over and over again the different parts of the film in order to understand what it was really trying to convey. I especially did not expect such a simple plot to give rise to so much meaning. While reflecting on the film, I began to realize its religious aspect. Babette represented Jesus Christ, from a great kingdom, which was her bakery, that was said to have the best food, and humbled herself down to the poor, to the point of giving all she had for them even if they thought she was a witch.

I do believe in the transforming power of art evidently shown in the film. There is so much to realize after analyzing all the main points of the film. For example, I feel that the overall theme is happiness. All the sisters thought about was that physical pleasure could not be mixed with spiritual pleasure, at the end the General was wondering whether or not his life would've been better had be stayed in the small village to be with Martine, Achille wrote to Philippa telling her that she certainly got the better end of things even if she did not make a career out of her singing. In the end, the only one who was satisfied with herself was Babette because she was able to do what she wanted to do. She did not ask for anything but to be a humble servant and cook for them, nothing more. This is precisely why I believe art transforms. It takes such ordinary things into beautiful lessons that have great value in our everyday life,

There were several symbolisms in the film such as the dried fish that was focused on in the beginning, which was part of their meals that they mixed with a few other ingredients. Judging from how the old men they cared for reacted, it wasn't very tasty, and Babette's cooking had more flavor to it. We could compare their bland meal to Babette's feast in a way that the dried fish represented their lives before Babette started living in the village: dry, boring, dull, bland, lifeless. Their lives were without excitement and passion. After her feast, everything started to change--those who partook in the feast were celebrating, singing songs, as they were on their way home. Another symbolism is the washing of the windows from the outside. This showed how Babette began to show them the beauty of the outside world, a world outside their small village, outside their religious beliefs that they held on to so tightly, into the dark house of the sisters or their lifeless lives. Babette shows them a new perspective on life, that a good life



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