Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Age of Innocence Through the Eyes of a Foodie

I sometimes wonder if other people pay as much attention to what people are eating in the movies they watch as I do. I really always notice and I can't help but appreciate the simple fact that someone somewhere made those choices when it came to setting the scene. Someone chose those dishes for those scenes and decided how they ought to look. Someone else slaved over them and made them delicious so that the actors could consume them on camera.  It's something I've always enjoyed noticing about movies in general and this goes double for my favorites.

I watched Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence last night for what has to be the millionth time and I found myself thinking about how this is really a secret foodie movie. Secret in the sense that it's obviously not actually about food, but foodie in the sense that there is plenty of focus on food to please someone like me who always noticed what characters are eating in the movies and television shows I watch.

As this is a movie about the society of Old New York and its inner workings, there are more than a few scenes in it where people are sitting down to multi-course dinners or elaborate teas. However, this movie does more than just show the characters shoveling it in while they gossip about what the other characters have been up to. I don't have to pause the film or squint to try to get a look at what's on everyone's plate. The camera slowly pans across the table to thoroughly show you the spread. It zooms in close on every plate as the events move from one course to the next. It even actually shows you juicy ducks being carved and plated carefully or cakes being cut in a way that's more than just fleeting. There are even whole shots that are all about the china plates and cups they're using.

It really almost makes you feel like you're actually there about to be served a plate of your own and it's a very powerful visual device in a movie like this. However, that's Martin Scorsese for you. He pays so much attention to how everything looks in every shot to help the viewer become part of the scene themselves. Really, I long to temporarily step into the world this movie portrays for many reasons, but I especially want to try the food these people are served. I notice it each and every time I watch and I never get tired of staring at it... or commenting on it. I don't even know how many times Seth has had to hear me comment on how juicy the slices of duck look in the first dinner scene or how much I want one of those blueberry muffins during that scene when May and company are having tea with Mrs. Mingott.
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