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Reel Stories

Babette’s Feast

Daniels Pavilion

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Babette’s Feast

Elaine Newton's Reel Stories
Artis—Naples Lifelong Learning


The movie to be screened for this lecture will be Babette’s Feast (1987; Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, 1988). The film will be presented in full following Elaine’s brief introduction.


Babette's Feast begins with two aging spinster sisters living in an austere remote village in coastal Denmark. Fifty years prior, both were vivacious, beautiful young women, courted by dashing suitors. But both chose to stay with their widowed father, a pastor, and his ultra-puritanical congregation. Enter Babette Mersant, a Parisian political refugee, who arrives in the village, seeking a position as a cook. Reluctantly, the sisters take her in. Fourteen years later, she wins a French lottery and decides not to return to Paris but spend her money creating a lavish fabulous feast as her gesture of appreciation to the whole village for her life in Denmark. Much of the film revolves around the shopping, preparation and serving of that sumptuous dinner, a meal that "would enchant heaven's angels.”


Languages of Art  This presentation is part of Artis—Naples’ 2017-18 season theme, Languages of Art.

Elaine Newton

Elaine Newton


Elaine Newton, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Humanities at York University, Toronto, Canada. She has taught courses in literary theory and methodology, contemporary fiction, psychology and literature and archetypal criticism. Professor Newton was one of the founders of York University’s Advising Program and its much-emulated Faculty of Education. She is a recipient of the province of Ontario’s Teaching Award in recognition of excellence in university teaching and in 1984 received a citation as Toronto’s Outstanding Professor. In 1996 she was the recipient of the university-wide Teaching Award. She has held appointments as professor of literature at Carlton University, Ottawa; University of Cape Town, South Africa; University of Sydney, Australia; Victoria University and the University of Otago, New Zealand. She has lectured throughout Canada and the US, London, Hong Kong, Zurich and Caracas. In 1992 she was a member of the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh’s Semester-at-Sea.

For over 40 years she has planned and conducted adult education courses throughout North America. This is the 26th year that she has presented our literature series Critic’s Choice and the 20th year she has presented Four O’clock at the Movies. She also initiated and taught, for 11 years, the pioneering Artis—Naples seminar discussion program The Questers. Newton has worked as a book critic for Toronto’s The Globe and Mail, been a special consultant to the Ontario Library Association, led movie and theater discussions and served as a consultant to the North York Board of Education. She continues to conduct an annual lecture series at the Toronto Public Library and leads summer tours to Stratford and Niagara-on-the-Lake Theatre Festivals. Professor Newton has served as a programming resource specialist for Chapters (Canada) and makes frequent guest appearances on TV and radio.

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