« Le repas au cinéma » by Hélène Lassalle - Alumna 2011
Gastronomic culture, in France at any rate, is based on the whole dining experience, not just cooking but sharing what has been made.
There is something familiarly comforting and pleasurable about sharing a meal and it often provides the perfect opportunity for meeting and interacting with others. However, these occasions are not always about pleasure and happiness…They can also involve confrontation and clashes, indiscretion and rebellion.
One of my areas of interest in the arts (gastronomy being part of them) is the cinema, so I decided to focus on the meal in this precise setting: Dinner table scenes in fictional movies.
Following a definition of a meal in terms of the different elements of which it is composed: Food, guests, decoration, etc…I went on to study dinner table scenes in eleven films which I considered to be fairly symbolic.
My research has allowed me to highlight the narrative nature of cinema in relation to the dinner table theme thanks, amongst other things, to its use of the audience’s imagination and the technical possibilities at its disposal.
It is abundantly clear that dinner table scenes play a major role in fictional movies, due to their recurring nature and the importance they are given in a story.
Cinema can then easily be considered as the art form which best celebrates this aspect of gastronomy. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking this is set in stone, other art forms are rapidly gathering pace!