Eating In Reel Life: The Fandom Of Film Foods

This year's festival pays homage to legendary chef and documentarian Anthony Bourdain.

Eating In Reel Life: The Fandom Of Film Foods
The Food Film Festival

"Let's eat."

"Bon Appetit." "Bon Appetit!" 

"Let the feast begin."

These videos about food might make you hungry, but isn't it cool that films have the ability to do that?

"That didn't ... that didn't go very well."

The foods we see on screen can make our mouths water, inspire a sudden craving for a familiar dish, or even introduce audiences to new cuisines.

In a review of the 1994 Taiwanese film "Eat Drink Man Woman," prolific film critic Roger Ebert wrote: "Food is as much a backdrop as a recurring symbol."

The connections between food and film form the basis for the annual Food Film Festival, where attendees get to eat the food featured in the films they watch. It's been around for more than a decade.

Scene from animated film

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Back in 2017, the festival screened the 1985 Japanese film "Tampopo" with foods from Japanese restaurants. The movie is credited as being one of the greatest food-films ever made. 

"One of the deeply wonderful things about the film is how it portrays how comforting food is. 'Tampopo' is quite a sensory experience. You get the feeling of the soup, and the smell comes across."

The film introduced the Japanese noodles to American audiences, and it was a precursor to other major food-films like "Big Night" and documentaries like "Jiro Dreams of Sushi." 

This year, the Food Film Festival is paying tribute to a legend of the genre: Anthony Bourdain

Months after the documentarian's death, the "Lower East Side" episode of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" will premiere rather fittingly in the Lower East Side. The local restaurants Bourdain wanted to highlight are providing food for the screening.