Feast on Film: Cuisine, Cinema, and Cross-Cultural Communication

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Spring 2006

Project Description/Abstract

Food has been an integral filmic element since cinema’s earliest days, often as prop (“pie-in-the-face”), occasionally as central subject. In spite of this century-long history, film scholars have only recently investigated food’s role in films. A preliminary finding of these investigations has been the central importance of food as a narrative element: food is frequently used in films as shorthand to explain a range of social traits. However, to understand this shorthand, one must be familiar with food meanings specific to the culture that produced the film. With this in mind, this study investigates the role of food in films as both a structural element and a cultural, political, and symbolic element, with an emphasis on analyzing non-American films. The initial goal is to provide a thick cultural description of a body of films, with an ultimate goal of developing a pedagogical framework for illustrating, understanding, and promoting cross-cultural communication.

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