Mouthwatering movies: Joris Bijdendijk
In Mouthwatering movies, a well-known person from the food or film world tells us about his or her most memorable, sensual or belly-shaking film scene or food film. This week we talk to Joris Bijdendijk, executive chef at Restaurant Bridges and head chef at our festival.
"Choosing just one scene is impossible. I have so many favourites! I enjoy films in which food plays absolutely no role. I like realism, but enjoy magical realism even more. David Lynch fascinates me, as does Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, director of Intacto. Guillermo del Toro made one of my favourite films: Pan’s Labyrinth. I've seen it at least 10 times. It is a fairy tale for adults that shows two different worlds: the harsh social reality of Spain after the civil war, and the pagan fantasy world of the young Ofelia. The focus in this film is not so much on food, although it includes an enchanting food scene.
Pan’s Labyrinth is about the young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), who travels with her sick, pregnant mother through Spain's forests and ruined cities. They are on their way to Captain Vidal ((Sergi López), her mother's new husband. Vidal is a Franco supporter and is fighting the rebels hiding out in the wooded hills. His regime is harsh and merciless. Ofelia wants nothing to do with him and retreats into her own fantasy world. She meets a fairy who takes her to a labyrinth behind Vidal’s house. Deep inside the labyrinth she meets a faun, who sees in her a lost princess. To prove that Ofelia is indeed this princess, she had to complete three tasks.
One of the tasks puts Ofelia’s desire and eagerness to the test. She has to walk past a table covered in fruit. It looks so deliciously plump and ripe – think of the naked body of your ideal partner, something that is impossible to keep your hands off. If Ofelia takes just one fruit from the table, it will cost her dearly. But of course she can't stop herself...
In this film – which is not actually about food – food nevertheless plays a role of life and death. Ofelia is not seduced by a Barbie doll or pink bike, but by a table of beautiful ripe peaches, juicy melons and deep purple grapes.
I enjoy watching food films. Unfortunately I don't have enough time to be an avid viewer, but I like it when food plays a role in a film, even if the focus is not necessarily on that food. Food should stimulate desire. Countries like France and Italy, but also Japan, have developed a complex food culture. They have elevated food to art and made it sexy."
Ofelia retreats from the harsh reality of the outside world and the brutal crimes of her stepfather. She loses herself in her fantasy world, where a mythological creature with horns and hooves gives her tasks to complete.
Watch the trailer for this dark fairy tale:
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