-Images of food must be used to help an aspect of the story
-Can be a montage or insert, whichever works better for the story
-Food is juxtaposed in a way that makes sense pictorially as well as contextually
5. Chocolat (2000)
This movie is about chocolate, but unfortunately, it doesn’t do much in the way of telling the story using chocolate. The chocolate itself is a prop that the main character uses to move the story along, I have to say that the shots chosen and the way that they are put together don’t give us any particular feeling towards the chocolate, nor do we feel that the chocolate is telling us anything new. There are a few montages involving chocolate items throughout the movie and frankly, it feels like the editor relied too much on the chocolate itself being tasty than making it into something more. Most people like chocolate, so it’s easy to fall back onto letting the image speak for itself, but for this story it needs to do more. In ends up hurting the film because the chocolate affects each character just as much as the personality of the main character does, not to mention that... well, the movie is called "Chocolat."
4. True Stories (1986)
Even though True Stories is far from what I would consider to be a great film, I am open about saying that it is one of my top 5 favourite films. One of the biggest factors that put this movie there (besides some really great post-modern David Byrne quotes) is the scene in which Byrne is sitting at the dinner table with Spalding Gray and his character’s wife (to whom his character hasn’t spoken directly to for years) and their kids. When Gray’s character decides to make a speech about how "economics has become a spiritual thing" the food becomes his illustration, and suddenly the food isn’t food anymore. Some of the cuts aren’t as clean as I think they should be, but they’re good enough to change the context of the food from food to workers who are excited about their job. "I forget what these peppers represent..."
3. Waitress (2007)
If you want a food montage that will make you want pie so badly that you could cry, then watch the opening credits for Waitress. It’s definitely a chick flick and you have to be in the mood for a cute but cheesy story, but you can’t argue with good editing no matter where it is. The opening pie montage is edited in a way that makes you feel like you are still a little kid, and that you just woke up from an afternoon nap at grandma’s house in the country. You look up onto the counter after following a rich, thick pie smell to the kitchen and see the goodness of a home baked pie through your blurry post-sleeping eyes. mmmmpie. Er... Back to the movie— aside from that tasty montage the film features a motif in which the main character quickly makes up pie recipes based on what she’s feeling (and we see it visually from her perspective). The creative way in that they are edited helps to shape the food into something less concrete and more meaningful than just a pie.
2. The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover (1989)
Food and sex. One can’t get two subjects that don’t fit together fit together so nicely. This entire movie is one big sexual innuendo using food, but nothing really shows it better than the love scene between the wife and the lover. The montage includes going back and forth between sharpening knives, chopping food and getting it on in the food storeroom. When the images of colourful foods and chopping sounds are coupled with rhythmic music and a (rather non-intimate yet sensual) love scene, preparing vegetables becomes sneaky, exciting, and sexy. Good times! However I’m not sure if I’d want to eat at that restaurant.
1. The Aviator (2004)
There are three scenes where Howard Hughes is sitting at a dinner table and is aware of his food. This film gets number 1 because this particular entry is about context, and the way in which food is cut into each scene in this film is a great illustration of manipulating the viewer by contextual means. For example, there is a scene where he goes out with Ms. Hepburn to a restaurant club, and two of his obnoxious buddies sit down at the table with him. At this point in the film, you really don’t have a true grasp of his disorder unless you know the history of Howard Hughes beforehand. He orders his "usual" and a perfectly cooked steak arrives at the table complete with 12 peas equally spaced apart and far away from the hunk of meat. It looks delicious, and obviously Howard thinks so, too, so he begins to dig in. Just then one of the other guys that rudely barged into his date also rudely reaches across the table and snags a pea from his plate. Tilt up to DiCaprio’s disgusted face, cut to medium two shot of a disappointed Hepburn and the intolerable friend, back to DiCaprio close up (clearly distressed) then back to the (now slightly imperfect)