It’s been almost a year since we closed our theater doors, and times have been difficult, but we have persevered thanks to you, our community. You’ve reached out, bought tickets to our virtual events, stopped by for Curbside Concessions, and recently some of you have been inside the theaters to see a film in-person and give us your thanks. It’s meant a lot to us, and it’s proved just how strong our community really is.
In fact, I think this is part of one of the few gifts that this pandemic has given. That even when we’re isolating ourselves from each other, and the world, our friendships can persevere against even the strongest hardships. And it’s this fundamental truth that becomes the focus of FOOD CLUB, a Danish film from director Barbara Topsøe-Rothenborg about three older women going through different trials in their lives, who journey to Italy to bask in the beauty of the landscape, the food, lots of red wine, and most importantly, each other’s company.
Our heroines are Marie, Vanja, and Berling who we first meet as teenagers in the 1960s fighting for women’s rights with an attitude of “seize the day!”. But flashforward to the present and we find that their lives may not have gone exactly as planned. Marie’s husband has begun a relationship with another woman and wants a divorce; Vanja has long been in mourning; and Berling is perpetually single and has a difficult relationship with her daughter. So when Marie’s children gift her with a trip to Italy for five days of cooking classes, she brings her friends for a much needed getaway.
Primarily set in a countryside farmhouse in Puglia, Topsøe-Rothenborg takes full advantage of the gorgeous scenery and allows it to become a character itself. Whether they’re in the kitchen chopping vegetables or stirring a pot of tasty pasta sauce, or strolling the olive groves and vineyards, the landscape provides a haven which introduces these characters to new people and ideas. More importantly, it also allows a reintroduction to each other, their independence, and inner happiness.
Though maybe not hysterically funny, the film’s beauty does allow itself to capture levity and jumps at every chance it can to make you laugh. And thankfully it never falls into the trap of making the character’s age the butt of the joke, but rather allows them to justly reacquaint themselves with their bodies and their sexuality. Tagged by a lovely, whimsical score, the film keeps a smile on your face from beginning to end and never waivers from making you feel at home.
It’s also a testament to the power of the culinary arts to cultivate friendship and community. There’s hardly a scene in the film that does not include people together, whether they’re working in a kitchen or sitting down at a table for meal. This sense of comradery is immensely important for these characters’ arcs and is very therapeutic to view in our current moment. Perhaps you’ll even come out of it with a few ideas for how you want to gather once we can all come together again in our own reality.
FOOD CLUB is now playing in our Virtual Movie Palace to remind you to “seize the day”, no matter what is going on in your life, and the assurance that (to quote screenwriter Anne-Marie Olesen) “growing old sucks, but yeah we can handle it.” So check it out, and be sure to let us know if it inspires any weekend dinner ideas!
And don’t forget the new films arriving in our Virtual Movie Palace this weekend, like STRAY, a documentary seen through the eyes of three stray dogs wandering the streets of Istanbul which will be the focus of this blog next Wednesday. Until then, have a safe and joyful weekend!