Anyone who’s been watching the recent NBC TV show Hannibal developed by Bryan Fuller, will have witnessed the significant impact that food has on the unfolding narrative. Doctor Lecter is, as the Thomas Harris novels have illustrated, a man not shy of cobbling the odd gourmet recipe together – usually from the harvested parts of his victims. Using lung, kidney, marrow and brain, Lecter flips and flambés his way through post-Michelin star repasts, making Hannibal as compelling as a Dexter/Masterchef: The Professionals spin-off.
Hans Laube’s Scentovison (a process developed whereby different smells that coincided with the action onscreen would be piped in under audience’s cinema seats – which made it’s grand opening and grand closing during Jack Cardiff’s 1960 film Scent of Mystery) has been the only real attempt at cashing in on cinemagoers’ other senses in an attempt at total immersion into the world of the screened film, but more recently, films have managed to use different foods and our associations with them in increasingly clever ways. Here are six great usages of foodstuffs in films.
Poor Layla (Christina Ricci). Having been abducted from her dance class by the shy, sensitive and sociopathic Billy Brown (Vincent Gallo), and forced to pose as his wife for the duration of a super-awkward visit to Billy’s folks’, vegetarian Layla then has to suffer the indignation of eating cow’s intestine in order to sustain the subterfuge. Is Billy grateful? Like heck. “Isn’t that what you said was your favourite?” he asks. “Take a big… bigger bite.” Tripe is of course the perfect choice of meal for this odious family – the sports-obsessed Jan (Angelica Huston), the sleazily avuncular Jimmy (the late Ben Gazzara), and of course Billy himself, who goads and provokes Layla relentlessly. It also helps that Gallo deliberately chooses a lo-fi and muted colour palate for the film; the house has all the appeal of a tobacco-stained, badly composed snap from the 70s.
Read the rest of the article over at Spindle.