“Food be­comes a metaphor for liv­ing. The cam­era rel­ishes the sheen, the suc­cu­lence and the colour of its cho­sen morsels”

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film -

up at a bat­tered man­sion some­where in the raini­est corner of Wales. The fam­ily that in­hab­its the build­ing is among the most im­pres­sively dys­func­tional in cinema his­tory. Ernest Th­e­siger plays the withered, per­ma­nently dys­pep­tic fa­ther fig­ure. Eva Moore is his largely deaf, re­li­giously crazed sis­ter. Up­stairs an im­pos­si­bly old man lies dy­ing and a crazed py­ro­ma­niac waits to de­liver Ar­maged­don.

The cen­tre of the film in­volves a din­ner party from hell. More grey, flabby meat is passed about. Puz­zlingly for the con­tem­po­rary viewer, the mute but­ler of­fers vine­gar with the grim repast. Th­e­siger punc­tu­ates ev­ery tense si­lence with an en­thu­si­as­tic of­fer that seems to have some hid­den mean­ing. “Have a potato,” he snaps. The scene show­cases cinema din­ing at its most tellingly grim. The food is vile. The com­pany is worse. All fa­mil­ial mis­ery is here.

Hor­ror di­rec­tors have al­ways found ways of bring­ing food into their cinema. Af­ter all, few com­monly en­coun­tered phe­nom­ena have that abil­ity to dis­gust and de­light in equal

Bon ap­petit: Good­fel­las; Pulp Fic­tion; The Gold Rush; Big Night; Ba­bette’s Feast; Cho­co­lat; Tam­popo; 9½ Weeks and (left) The Old Dark House

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