In a remote 19th-century Danish village, two sisters lead a rigid life centered around their father, the local minister, and their church. Both had opportunities to leave the village: one could have married a young army officer and the other, a French opera singer. Their father objected in each case, and they spent their lives caring for him. Many years later - their father is now deceased - they take in French refugee, Babette Hersant, who agrees to work as their servant. After winning the lottery, Babette wants to repay the sisters for their kindness and offers to cook a French meal for them and their friends on the 100th anniversary of their father's birth. It proves to be an eye-opening experience for everyone.Written by
Many of the older actors were veterans of the films of Carl Theodor Dreyer. See more »
In the church, behind the pastor there is a crucifix on the wall. While many Calvinist Puritan churches have no such images, there is variance among Protestant churches; as the pastor named his daughters after famous Lutherans, his church may be more Lutheran in practice, thus allowing such images. See more »
[in Danish, using English subtitles]
In this remote spot there once lived two sisters who were both past the first flush of youth. They had been christened Martina and Philippa after Martin Luther and his friend Philipp Melanchton. They spent all their time and almost all their small income on good works.
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Stephane Audran is the eponymous heroine of this beautifully measured study of a small Danish community towards the end of the last century. Two beautiful and musically talented sisters give-up their own prospects of happiness and marriage in order to look-after their ageing father. One day, a French woman, Babette, comes to work for them. After some years she wins the lottery and is determined to do something for the sisters who have taken her in. Her solution is to prepare an exquisite and sumptuous feast, which changes the lives of all those invited. This is a film about human and cultural interaction, reflected in the changing language of the dialogue from Danish to French, and especially between the dutiful sobriety of Protestant northern Europe and the sensuousness of the Catholic south. It is also about human needs, and how warmth and kindness can be expressed and stimulated through the cultivation of the senses. A profoundly uplifting film.
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