Episode 21: Bread Alone


Details, credits, errata: This week Sam and Alissa discuss Gabriel Axel’s beautiful 1987 comedy Babette’s Feast with the great Jeffrey Overstreet, professor at Seattle Pacific University, film critic at Christianity Today for many years, author of the Auralia Thread series of fantasy novels, and current contributor to the film journal Image. Jeffrey writes about art and faith at LookingCloser.org, and you can buy his books, including his highly regarded memoir, Through a Screen Darkly, here and here.

Our episode art is a still from the movie, in which the timid townsfolk of the little Christian sect where our story takes place begin not just to eat but to enjoy the meal their servant Babette makes for them. We really dug this movie. Sam hadn’t seen it before and Alissa has seen it several times, and it is a perfect Turkey Coma Special for our little pod. It’s appropriate for all ages (although kids are going to think it’s boring until the food comes out) and constructed with total confidence. We call it a comedy above; some people call it a drama—if it is a drama, it’s a drama of caricatures, and a very funny one. And if it’s a comedy, it’s a comedy with very high stakes. It’s great.

Our theme song is Louis Armstrong and His Hot 5’s Muskrat Ramble, made freely available by the Boston Public Library and audio engineering shop George Blood, LP through the Internet Archive. Babette’s Feast is copyright 1987 Nordisk Film. The single frame above is intended for purposes of review, and Sam had actually rented the film a second time to cut audio clips to insert into the episode before he realized that this would not enhance anyone’s listening experiene since the entire film is in Danish. He’s very tired. No other copyright is intended or implied. All other content is copyright 2020 Sam Thielman and Alissa Wilkinson.

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