by Alice Levitt
Last year, for the first time, the Vermont International Film Festival was organized thematically — and one of those themes was food. It was intended to be a one-time special, but, says executive director Orly Yadin with a laugh, "I can't keep away from food. It was really successful and we got really good feedback. This year, we found enough good films to try it again."
Yadin says that while the seven food-themed movies are all superficially focused on eating, their subject matters range from history to politics to ethnography.
Area restaurants sponsored several of the flicks. Yadin convinced Max Mackinnon of Burlington's avant-garde restaurant Pistou to lend his support to Step Up to the Plate (Entre les Bras) after reading that he dreams of dining at the Michelin-starred restuarant featured in that film, Bras in Laguiole, France.
The Skinny Pancake is sponsoring Mad City Chickens, a quirky look at raising backyard poultry. And The Raw And The Cooked: A Culinary Journey Through Taiwan is being presented with help from A Single Pebble.
Other films include Iranian Cookbook, in which Mohammad Shirvani eats his way through his family's Ramadan festivities, highlighting women's inimitable role in the Middle Eastern kitchen. Hungarian film Cooking History explores the military roots of the modern brigade system by following contemporary army cooks. Each feature is also paired with a short, including the 1908 production A Fish Factory in Astrakhan, which follows the eight stages of preparing saltfish.
To learn more about the other food films featured and to see a schedule, check vtiff.org.
Top, Cooking History
Bottom, The Raw And The Cooked: A Culinary Journey Through Taiwan