Here, Try This Thing: Our Favourite Under-the-Radar Food Films
You know those films where food isn't the focus, it just seeps through the storyline like some beautiful, subtle, surprising gravy? These are golden cinema moments for people like us. People like you! What better time than now to indulge in a little on-screen deliciousness. Here are our team's favourites.By Buffet
A Bigger Splash, Luca Guadagnino, 2016
Tilda Swinton! In a villa on Pantelleria! Wearing a custom wardrobe by Raf Simons for Dior! There’s also murder! And ricotta! This film is so brilliant for so many reasons, but there are so many excellent food and drink scenes to look out for, from daiquiris at a pop-up restaurant the edge of a cliff, to fresh, warm ricotta scooped out of the pot and whole fish stuffed with herbs. It’s all you’d want to eat on an Italian holiday, a tantalising backdrop to the smouldering drama that erupts at the end.
— Sophie McComas-Williams, Director
Under the Tuscan Sun, Audrey Wells, 2003
Ergh, the ultimate food movie, I don’t care what anyone says. There’s Katherine licking her vanilla gelato! That time Pawel and co. fashion a table out of a few planks of wood and trestles then sit down to Frances’s feast! Or when the gals straight-up drink Champagne and chocolate cake! What about the ridiculous amazing yellow wedding cake, as well? Perhaps more on the radar, than under, but this food film possibly my favourite film … ever.
— Molly Urquhart, Content and Copy Editor
Marie Antoinette, Sofia Coppola, 2006
It's hard not to love this high colour (and sugar) portrait of Marie Antoinette, the last Queen of France. The movie was as controversial as the Queen herself and judged historically inaccurate by its French audience. BUT, who cares? You certainly shouldn't watch this movie hoping for a history lesson but simply for the amazing patisserie-porn scenes. Kirsten Dunst spends most of the movie stuffing her face with cakes, macarons, and Champagne accompanied by a pretty cool A-La-Coppola soundtrack. Trust me, this is all you need right now!
— Emilie Gaida, Account Manager
Jamón Jamón, Bigas Luna, 1992
Food. Sex. Two men fighting over their woman with large hunks of ham. You know, the usual. This Spanish recipe also includes—but is not limited to—a young, relatively unknown and not-yet-married-IRL Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, hot tips such as garlic is best consumed before bullfighting and screwing, and a thorough exploration of life’s most pressing questions: do I prefer tortillas or do I prefer breasts? Erotic, absurd, hilarious, cinematically beautiful, thought-provoking. This arthouse classic is best served up with a big old glass of Tempranillo.
— Rose Howard, Content Editor and Development
Parasite, Bong Joon-Ho, 2019
Is this even a thriller at all? Isn’t it just a simmering story of a down-and-out family trying to scrape a living? But wait. Ohhh you just wait. Food isn’t so much a delicate entree here but a weapon, and a symbol of two sides of life lived. Peach fuzz is purposefully deployed as an inflammatory irritant, rather than a pleasure, while a fancy wagyu noodle dish is whipped up in sheer terror; panic infused into every drop of the stock and meat. This is glowing coal of a film - part disgusting, part nauseating, mostly ravishing.
— Sophie McComas-Williams, Director
Tampopo, Juzo Itami, 1985
Who would’ve imagined that a quest to master the perfect bowl of ramen would involve an exploration of culture, death, sex and the most intense mouth-to-mouth egg yolk scene ever. Yes, feel free to read that last bit again or just have a look at this. If you take your ramen seriously and all the tradition and etiquette around it, this is a movie for you. If you’re curious as to how a food fetished gangster, a Japanese Clint Eastwood-esque truck driver, a pearl diver and a spaghetti sensei all tie into this as well, this is a movie for you. It’s food porn at its funniest surrounded by the all too familiar dramas that make us laugh, cry and feel alive. A sincere reminder, particularly right now.
— Nikki To, Director
Napoleon Dynamite, 2004
If there was ever a film that wrapped up the diet of someone in isolation, it’s 100 per cent Napoleon Dynamite. This classic covers all aspects of food, farming and the deep freeze of America in the early ’00s. From grating a two-kilo block of cheese onto microwaved nachos, to egg sandwiches for smoko while working on a chicken farm for $1/hour. I’ve heard potatoes have all the essential nutrients you need to survive, so I’m running with it. Set your oven to 180˚C and watch those tots crisp, folks. After 95 minutes of thawed, starchy Americana cuisine (smothered in ketchup), you’ll be running for the fresh food isle of your supermarket.
— Gemma Plunkett, Content Editor
The Dinner Game, 1998
Je love French TV at the moment (Lupin, The Bureau, Call My Agent, ah just so damn bonne) and similarly French cinema has long been a source of joy and inspiration, thanks to its often left-of-field (I swore I wouldn’t use the word quirky), complex, aesthetic and sophisticated approach to storytelling. This, coupled with the fact that dinner parties feel like a distant dream right now, meant it felt the right moment for a re-watch of ‘The Dinner Game’ (1998). A comedy ripe with wit and a boon for potential lockdown gloom. Rather than portraying the culinary delights of a fully fledged dinner party, it centres around the politics and human drama these affairs can provoke. Especially if you’re part of a group of friends who compete to bring along the biggest idiot to these Wednesday night meals. A romp in its purest form, the tables are soon turned on our intellectual protagonist, in this excellent comedy.
— Megan Gordon, Content, Copy and Strategy Manager
I Am Love, Luca Guadagnino, 2009
I Am Love is a trifecta of Italian food, a glorious Italian villa (Villa Necchi, you can visit it in Milan!) and the ever so stylish Tilda Swinton. Luca Guadagnino sweeps you into a world of affairs within a wealthy Milan family and it all starts with the fine food. Tilda Swinton’s character Emma (a Russian woman who left her country to follow her husband to Italy) has her world tipped upside down when she meets Antonio, a talented young chef. She is seduced by his prawn dish that keeps both you and Tilda Swinton wanting more. This film transports you into a beautiful world of food and passion.
— Julia Bowdler, Design Designer
Love Sarah, Eliza Schroeder, 2020
Put three generations of women with specially-made pastries by chef Yotam Ottolenghi himself in a film and you’re in for an irresistible treat. Set in charming Notting Hill, Love Sarah is a delicious and comforting film concerning love, grief, hope and a bakery filled with colourful, international pastries. For those yearning for a lockdown escape, this warm and quirky film is worth a watch — but will undeniably leave you hungry.
— Issy Plasto, Production and Studio Coordinator