On cinema

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Movies about food are a treat, if only because they take the work out of deciding where you're going to dine after the cinema, popcorn/hot dog/Revels intake permitting. You see Tampopo, you're going to eat sushi. You see Babette's Feast and you're going to eat French. You see Delicatessen and you're going to eat deli. You see Alive and you're going to eat the person in the next seat.

This is exactly as it should be and not merely because nothing complements a good movie like a good meal. Celluloid can do for grub what it does for, say, Sharon Stone's thighs or Madonna's breasts or Julia Roberts's smile: give it sizzling close-ups designed to make your mouth water. Food is primal, food is sexy, food is symbolic. Watch Albert Finney and Joyce Redman chew their way through three courses plus in Tom Jones: it's enough to force an anorexic stampede on Burger King. I'll have the flame-grilled whopper. And family-size french fries. And a shake. And a doughnut. And. . .

But no recent movie has done the vital victuals thing as well as Like Water for Chocolate (above), which probably explains why it's the biggest grossing foreign film America has ever seen (you see it and you're going to order Mexican). If there's anything the land of plenty likes, it's double helpings. And Chocolate provides everything from quail with rose petals to rampant sex on a horse, the experience of the first leading directly to the second. Which is as it should be; the heroine's sister, like the heroine's food, is certainly good enough to eat.

(Photograph omitted)