Babette's Feast (1987)

BABETTE'S FEAS In this remote spot
there once lived two sisters,
who were both past
the first flush of youth.
They had been christened
Mari/he and HY/jopa,
They spent all their time
and almost all their small income
on good works.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Their father had been
a pastor and prophet
and the founder
of a religious sect.
He 'd been well-respected,
and perhaps also a I/tt/e feared.
The pastor had married late
and by this time
had long been dead.
His disciples were becoming
fewer in number every year,
but they continued meeting
to read and interpret the Word
and to honor
the spirit of their master,
whose presence they felt
was among them.
My hearfs true home
O name forever dear
Take not thought
so anxiously, careful one
For your daily food or raiment
Never would you give
a stone or serpent
To your child
who asks for bread
The two sisters
had a French maid.
Her name was Babette.
This may seem strange
for two Puritan lad/es
living in such
a remote and desolate place,
and it calls for an explanation.
The reason for Babette's presence
in the sisters' house
in the heart.
Had been extraordinary,
like that of flowering fruit trees.
They were never to be seen
at balls or parties,
and the young men
went to church
in hopes of seeing them.
O Lord, allow thy kingdom
To descend upon us here
So that the spirit of mercy
May wipe out all trace of sin
Then we shall know
in our hearts
That God lives here with us
And that thou art dwelling
With those that trust in thee
In the pastor's flock,
earthly love and marriage
were considered of scant worth
and merely empty illusion.
In this calling of mine,
my two daughters
are my right and left hands.
Would you deprive me of them?
these two beauties
had upset the peace of heart
and the destinies
of two young gentlemen
from the great world outside.
One was a young officer
by the name of Lorens Lwenhielm.
He'd led a merry life
in his garrison town
and had fallen into debt.
Captain, sir!
Twenty men accounted for!
Lorens, get a grip on yourself!
You will spend three months
at your aunt's house.
- The old lady?
- Yes.
At None Vossborg'?
In Jutland?
At Norre Vossborg Manor
you'll have time to think
about your conduct
and to set about improving it.
Welcome to Norre Vossborg.
Come along.
I'll show you to your room.
At that very moment
he had a mighty vision
of a higher and purer life,
one without creditors' letters
or parental lectures,
and with a gentle angel
at his side.
With the help
of his pious aunt,
he gained admission
to the pastor's house.
Don't just stand there, Martha!
Get a cloth!
Mercy and truth
have met together,
dear brethren.
Righteousness and bliss
shall kiss one another.
He visited many times,
but it seemed to him
that each time
he grew more insignificant.
Excuse me.
God's paths
run across the sea
and the snowy mountains,
where man's eye
sees no track.
I am going away forever...
and I shall never, never
see you again.
For I have learned here
that life is hard and cruel...
and that in this world
there are things that are...
While the other young officers
spoke of their love affairs,
he was silent about his.
For, reliving it now,
in the officers' mess,
and seeing it
through their eyes,
it appeared to him
a pitiful business.
And I shall never, never
see you again.
Let himself be defeated
and disarmed by...
By some long-faced
who can't even afford
salt for their soup?
I can't forget the image
of that lovely maiden.
You're a dreamer, Lorens.
But I'd prefer to be like you.
I will forget all that happened
on the west coast.
From now I shall look forward,
not backward.
I will think of nothing
but my career,
and someday
I will cut a brilliant figure
in a brilliant world.
He married a Iady-in-waiting
to Queen Sophia.
At that time, piety was
fashionable at the court,
and he found a use for the phrases
engraved in his memory
from the parsonage.
We implore God's mercy.
We must carry out
the Lord's work with love.
Do you remember that silent young man
who so suddenly appeared
and vanished just as suddenly?
A year later, an even more
distinguished person arrived"
the famous singer from Paris,
Achille Papin,
who'd been performing
at the Royal Opera in Stockholm.
Thank you, dear lady.
You are so kind.
Stockholm is a charming city.
Yes, Scandinavia offers
a wealth of beautiful cities.
I travel a great deal,
but what I yearn for most
is to be alone.
I love silence.
and the sound of waves.
Then you must visit
the coast of Jutland.
It's magnificent
and unspoiled.
There you can have
your fill of fresh air
and rest.
I know a place.
You can stay
with the grocer.
But Achille Papin
fell into a kind of melancholy.
With frightening clarity
he suddenly saw himself
as an old man
at the end of his career.
Lord, our God
thy name and glory
Should be sung
throughout the world
Every soul
every humble subject
And every wayfarer
shall sing aloud
Thy praises
God is God
Though all lands lie desolate
God is God
Though all life be ended
Should mankind perish
yet in highest heaven
Countless multitudes
would sweetly sing
God's praises
Highest mountain
and deepest vale shall vanish
Heaven and earth
as well will perish
Each height and peak
shall be no longer
But the Lord's glory
shall rise again
In a thousand hearts
Almighty God,
thy mercy
ascends to the heavens,
and thy righteousness
reaches to the oceans' depths.
Here is a diva.
She will soon have Paris
at her feet.
Good day, sir.
Good day.
I've come to your beautiful land
for reasons of health.
I'm staying at the grocer's.
I'd be very happy
to give singing lessons
to the young lady
who lives here.
She has a lovely voice,
and with some training,
she will sing like an angel.
That's important
when one sings of God's glory.
Are you a Papist?
Yes, a Roman Catholic...
a Papist.
Come in, Monsieur...
Monsieur Achille Papin.
I've spoken
with my daughter,
and I give my consent.
I'm delighted. Thank you.
Good-bye, sir.
Good-bye, Monsieur Papin.
Good-bye, ladies.
Good-bye, monsieur.
- See you soon.
- Yes.
Ah, thank you.
Very good.
You will be like a star
in the heavens.
No one has ever sung
as well as you will sing.
You will be the only star.
The others will fade
by themselves.
The emperor
will come to hear you,
and so will
the modest seamstress.
You have talent enough
to distract the rich
from their riches
and console the poor
in their misery.
Well, Filippa...
are you making progress
with Mr. Papin?
Yes, Father.
A voice within me calls you
It calls you from my heart
Come now, don't resist
It is the voice of joy
I tremble, yet I listen
I'm fearful of my joy
Desire, love, and doubt
Are battling in my heart
Come with me, then
my beauty
Masetto loves me still
I'll make a great lady of you
Ah, my soul weakens already
Come, come
A voice within me calls you
I tremble, yet I listen
Come now, don't resist
I'm fearful of my joy
Let us go, my beauty
A voice within me calls you
Masetto loves me still
You will be a great lady
Ah, my soul weakens already
Oh, come
Oh, come
Let us go
Yes, hand and heart uniting
Each other's love requiting
Love will unite us
Yes, hand and heart uniting
Each other's love requiting
Love will unite us
Love will unite us.
Love will unite us.
Good day, madame
I don't wish to continue
my singing lessons.
Father, please let Monsieur Papin
know of my decision.
God's paths run
across the rivers too, my child.
Kindly give this to your guest.
Yes, sir.
Good-bye, my life
Good-bye, my heart
Good-bye, my hopes.
Achille Papin took
the first boat to Frederikshavn
and from there
returned to Paris.
That's the house over there.
Many years later,
one September night in 1871...
Do come in.
Dear ladies...
Do you remember me?
When I think of you,
my heart is filled
with the perfume
of wild lilies of the valley.
Will the memory of a Frenchman's
devotion bend your hearts
to save the life
of a French woman ?
The unfortunate bearer of this letter,
Madame Babette Hersant,
like my beautiful empress herself,
has had to flee Paris.
Civil war has raged
in our streets.
Madame Hersant's
husband and son were shot.
Her nephew works as a cook
on a ship that sails to Frederikshavn,
and he has arranged
passage for her.
She asked whether I knew
any good people in Denmark.
This immediately
brought forth your image,
so sacred to my heart.
For 35 years, Miss Filippa...
I have deplored the fate
that kept your voice
from filling
the Grand Opera of Paris.
But when tonight I think of you,
no doubt surrounded
by a Warm
and happy swarm of children...
and then think of myself -
a graying and lonely old man,
forgotten by those who once
applauded and adored me -
I feel it is you who chose
the better part in life.
What is fame?
The grave awaits us all.
And yet, my lost Zerlina,
even as I write this, I feel
that the grave is not the end.
In paradise I shall hear
your voice again.
There you will be
the great artist!
God meant you to be.
Oh, how you will
enchant the angels!
Babette can cook.
Deign to receive, my ladies,
the humble homage of the friend
who was once Achille Papin.
we fear
we cannot employ you.
We do not have
sufficient income
to allow us to engage
such an experienced
But I wish to work
only for Monsieur Papin's friends.
I'll work for nothing.
If you won't take me on,
death is all that's left.
Stay with us.
Yes, stay.
It has to soak.
You must let it soak.
Let it soak.
Let it soak.
You slice it.
You soak it in water.
A little ale.
A little ale.
Then like this
through a... sieve.
Let it soak.
Ale-and-bread soup.
Ale-and-bread soup.
Ou/L oui.
Then it cooks for one hour.
- It must cook for one hour.
- Cook.
- Ban/our, Monsieur Larsen.
- Good morning, Madame Babette.
- Oignons.
- Two omens.
Two onions.
- Sucre.
- Sugar.
- Twenty skillings.
- Twenty skillings.
Twenty skillings.
Au revoir, Monsieur Larsen.
Au revoir, Madame Babette.
Here you are.
Thank you, Babette.
It's incredible.
Since Babette came,
we have more money than before.
Babette had now worked
for the pastor's daughters
for 14 years.
- Not fresh.
- Not fresh?
My fish aren't fresh?
They were swimming
two minutes ago!
- How much?
- Thirty skillings.
- Twenty.
- Thirty.
- Thirty.
- Forty.
All right. Give me your basket
and take them away.
Thank you very much!
Those two for 30?
No! That's enough, now!
Fifty for these, and that's that.
- Good morning.
- Ban/our, Madame Babette.
I'd like a small piece
of bacon.
The last one I got
was rancid.
I can't understand that.
For that is the land
Where I was born
Don't you miss France?
My only tie to France
is a lottery ticket
that a faithful friend in Paris
renews for me every year.
That's not much.
Thank you very much.
Au revoir, Madame Babette.
- She's a clever one.
- Yes, she is.
These sins of your youth
will be forgiven, Christopher.
Christ loved us and cleansed us
of our sins with his blood.
You who seek Christ,
turn your eyes
to the vault of heaven.
There you'll see the signs
of his everlasting kingdom...
the eternal light.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
forever and ever. Amen.
And thank you, Lord,
for sending Babette to us.
She helps our little sisters
so they can devote themselves
to the most wretched
among thy little flock. Amen.
As the years went by,
So that sad little schisms
would arise in the congregation.
It may have been
long ago, Solveig,
but I remember very well
how badly you once treated me.
You remember
how badly I treated you?
Well, I remember
how jealous you were.
You were anything but nice
to my poor mother.
Let us all sing
Thy Kingdom Come, O Lord.
My good Paul,
you cheated me that time.
I've always known it!
Always known it - ha!
You can't even remember
what you had for supper yesterday.
I remember perfectly well.
I've always known
that you cheated me.
Now, now! May we have
some peace and quiet?
You think my dear husband
will forgive me for being unfaithful?
We were so young.
That's no excuse.
I was married to him.
You made me do it.
But you wanted to yourself.
- You tempted me.
Will God forgive me...
or will my soul be tormented
for what we did?
Yes, he will.
God forgives everything.
Doesn't he, Martine?
Dear brothers and sisters,
Of our dear father's birth.
Filippa and I have long
looked forward to this day,
and we wish to celebrate it
as if our dear father
were still among us.
I won't hide from you
that my sister and I
are much aggrieved
at the intolerance and discord
among us.
We beg you to remember
that peace and brotherhood
should reign here.
I've seen through you,
You're a sly one.
That's all for today.
It's from France.
It's for
Madame Babette Hersant.
- Thank you.
- It's from France.
Yes, thank you.
It's for Babette.
There's a letter for you,
Thank you.
Dear God.
I won the lottery.
Ten thousand francs!
It's from France.
Congratulations, Babette.
Thank you.
Well, it had to happen.
The Lord gave -
- And the Lord took away.
- Thank you for your help.
- You're welcome.
I have a favor to ask, ladies.
Certainly, Babette.
Sit down.
I'd like to prepare
the celebration dinner
for the pastor's birthday
by myself.
But dear Babette, we didn't
intend to give a dinner party.
My sister and I were thinking
of a modest supper
followed by a cup of coffee.
You know we've never
offered our guests
anything more.
I'd like to prepare
a French dinner.
A French dinner?
Please. Just once.
A real French dinner.
A real French dinner...
All right, Babette.
Very well, Babette.
I'd like to pay for it
with my own money.
No, Babette.
Out of the question.
- We couldn't allow that.
- No, Babette. Absolutely not.
have I ever asked you
for anything?
Hear my prayer today.
It comes from my heart.
Babette's right.
It's the first time she's ever
asked us for anything...
and possibly the last.
- So be it, Babette.
- It's agreed.
Thank you.
I'll have to ask
for a few days off
to give my nephew instructions
concerning the dinner.
Ah, yes, your nephew.
It was his boat
that brought you
from France
to Frederikshavn.
- Take some time off.
- Of course, Babette.
Thank you, ladies.
She'll be leaving us soon.
Her heart is already in France.
We know that.
We mustn't neglect
our old people
now that we must manage
on our own again.
- She'll be back in a week.
- Yes, but for how long?
Thank you, Johannes.
Welcome back, Babette.
Did you have a good trip?
Very nice, thank you.
Did you meet your nephew
and make your arrangements?
Yes, everything went just fine.
I gave my nephew
a list of the goods
he's to bring from France.
I'm worried about this.
I'm not too happy
about this French dinner either.
My little quails!
There she is.
Praise the Lord.
All the goods arrived safely.
What goods, Babette?
The ingredients for the dinner.
For the French dinner.
Surely that's not wine?
It's a Clos de Vougeot 1845...
from Chez Philippe
on rue Montorgeuil.
We meant no harm.
Filippa and I merely wanted
to grant Babette's wish.
We had no idea
where it might lead.
And now...
we've exposed ourselves
to dangerous forces
that may bring evil upon us.
I can't even tell you
what you may be given
to eat and drink.
What will happen to us?
Lord, grant us thy mercy.
Forgive me.
Don't cry, Martine.
Oh, how often
I think of my father now.
I feel he's looking down
and watching his daughters
use his home
for a witches' sabbath!
We shall be silent
upon all matters
of food and drink.
Out of love
for our little sisters,
we promise,
no matter what happens,
not to say a single word
about the food or drink.
Not one comment
will pass our lips.
The tongue.
The tongue,
that strange little muscle,
has accomplished great
and glorious deeds for man.
But it's also an unruly evil,
full of deadly poison.
On the day we solemnly
pay homage to our great master,
we shall preserve
our tongues for prayer...
in gratitude
for all he meant to us.
- The Lord be praised.
- Grant us thy salvation.
Thank you.
It will be as if we never
had the sense of taste.
My hearfs true home
O name forever dear
Take not thought
so anxiously, careful one
For your daily food or raiment
Never would you give
a stone or serpent
To your child
who asks for bread
- A letter from Mrs. Lwenhielm.
- Thank you.
Get yourself some refreshment
in the kitchen.
This is from Mrs. Lwenhielm.
She says she's received
an unexpected visit
from her nephew,
General Lorens Lwenhielm.
He's spoken of our father
with deep admiration.
She asks if she may bring him
along this evening.
We've received a message
from Mrs. Lewenhielm.
Her nephew, General Lorens
Lwenhielm, will accompany her,
so there will be
12 for dinner, not 11.
The general is with
the royal Swedish court.
He lived in Paris in his youth.
A general.
Don't worry.
There'll be plenty for everyone.
This is for the turtle soup.
I see.
Hold the tablecloth.
Is there anything you need,
No, everything's ready.
The candles.
is vanity.
I obtained everything
you dreamed of...
and satisfied
your every ambition.
But what has it profited me?
Tonight you and I
shall settle accounts.
You must prove to me
I made the right choice back then.
God's will be done.
Good evening.
Thank you, Filippa.
Come inside where it's warm.
They're here.
My hearfs true home
O name forever dear
Take not thought
so anxiously, careful one
For your daily food and raiment
Never would you give
a stone or serpent
To your child
who asks for bread
Can the sum of a row of victories
over many years
be defeat?
Here comes the general.
And our dear old
Mrs. Lwenhielm.
She's one of the faithful.
A very warm welcome.
It was so good of you
to invite us.
Thank you for inviting me.
Thank you for coming
such a long way.
Good evening,
Mrs. Lwenhielm.
Good evening,
dear sisters and brothers.
Please sit down.
Good evening.
Good evening.
Come inside where it's warm.
Tell them we're ready to serve.
Babette says dinner is served.
Well, let us take our places
at the table.
We've lost our sense of taste.
Let us pray
in our pastor's own words.
May the bread
nourish my body.
May my body
do my soul's bidding.
May my soul rise up
to serve God eternally.
- Not a word about the food.
- Not a word.
Like at the wedding at Cana:
The food is of no importance.
We won't give it
a single thought.
An amontillado!
And the finest amontillado
I've ever tasted!
This is quite definitely
real turtle soup.
And what a turtle soup!
Now, Erik, the champagne.
One glass for everyone.
But fill the general's glass
whenever it's empty.
It must be some kind
of lemonade.
This is good.
- Here you are, sir.
- Thank you.
This is blinis Demidoff!
And this most certainly is
Veuve Clicquot 1860!
I'm quite sure it will snow
all day tomorrow.
I shall never forget
my first meeting
with our pastor,
and the sermon he preached.
I was a depraved
and quarrelsome man.
This is good.
A good Christian.
Do you remember
what he taught us?
Little children,
love one another.
Little children,
love one another.
Friends, I can assure you that
the pastor's collected sermons
are among the favorite reading
of Her Majesty, the queen.
In the large glasses.
This is good.
This is good.
You remember the time -
it was almost a miracle -
when our pastor had promised
a Christmas sermon
to the church across the fjord?
For two weeks
the weather had been so bad
that no skipper or fisherman
would risk the crossing.
The villagers there
were giving up hope,
but our pastor told them
that if no boat would take him,
he'd come to them
walking upon the waves.
And behold!
Three days before Christmas,
the storm stopped,
and such a hard frost set in
that the fjord froze
to the church across the fjord?
A thing which had not happened
within the memory of man!
One day in Paris,
after I'd won
a riding competition,
some French officers
invited me to dine
at one of the city's finest
restaurants, the Cafe Anglais.
The chef, surprisingly enough,
was a woman.
We were served
ca/I/es en sarcophage,
a dish of her own creation.
General Galliffet,
our host for the evening,
explained that this woman,
this head chef,
had the ability
to transform a dinner
into a kind of love affair,
a love affair
that made no distinction
between bodily appetite
and spiritual appetite.
General Galliffet said
that in the past
he'd fought a duel for the love
of a beautiful woman,
but that now there was
no woman in Paris
for whom he'd shed his blood
except for this chef.
She was considered
the greatest culinary genius
of the age.
What we are now eating
is nothing less than
cailles en sarcophage.
But this really is
ca/I/es en sarcophage/
Yes... that it is.
Man shall not merely
refrain from
but also renounce
any thought of food and drink.
Only then can he eat and drink
in the right spirit.
As our pastor always said,
Dear brothers and sisters,
the only things we may take
with us from our life on earth
are those
we have given away.
Our dear sisters
will be rich in the next life.
Is the food good, Aunt?
Yes, the gale has died down.
Water in the small glasses.
Here you are, sir.
Just look
at these beautiful grapes!
And they came
unto the brook of Eshcol
and cut down a branch
with one cluster of grapes.
And two of them bore it
between them on a staff.
Mercy and truth
have met together.
Righteousness and bliss
shall kiss one another.
Man, in his foolishness
and shortsightedness,
believes he must make
choices in this life.
He trembles
at the risks he takes.
We all know...
But no.
Our choice
is of no importance.
The moment comes
when our eyes are opened,
and we see and realize
that grace is infinite.
We need only await it
with confidence
and acknowledge it
in gratitude.
Grace makes no conditions.
And see!
That which we have chosen
is given us...
and that which we have refused...
is also granted us.
Yes, that which we rejected
is granted us.
Mercy and truth
have met together.
Righteousness and bliss...
shall kiss one another.
Here you are, sir.
You scoundrel!
You cheated me
on that timber you sold me.
- I cheated you badly, beloved brother.
- I knew it.
But you know what?
I played a trick on you
that you never knew about.
Then I deserved it.
Mercy and truth
have met together.
Is there more
of the Clos de Vougeot?
Can the general have
more Closhoufo?
Erik, leave the bottle there.
After the coffee,
in the small glasses.
And light the candles
in the sitting room.
Vie-ux marc...
feene champagne.
I hope you enjoyed the meal.
Thank you.
God bless you,
dear Solveig.
God bless you too,
dear Anna.
God bless you, Christopher.
My brother!
Oh, watch the day
hurry off once again
As the sun sinks
into the western sea
The time for us to rest
O God, you who dwell
In heavenly light
Who reign on high
in heaven's hall
Be our infinite light
in the valley of night
The sand in our hourglass
will soon run out
The day is conquered
by the night
The glories of the world
are ending
So brief their day,
so swift their flight
God, may your brightness
never dim
Nor mercy's door
be closed to man
it is time for us to leave.
The general and his aunt
are leaving.
- Thank you for the nice evening.
- Thank you for your help.
You're welcome.
I have been with you...
every day of my life.
Tell me you know that.
I know.
You must also know
that I shall be with you
every clay that is left to me.
Every evening I shall sit down
to dine with you.
Not in the flesh...
which means nothing...
but in the spirit.
For tonight
I have learned, my dear...
that in this beautiful world
of ours...
all things are possible.
- Thank you for the lovely evening.
- Thank you for coming.
Thank you for the evening.
Thank you so much!
Thank you
for a wonderful evening!
The clock strikes
and time goes by
Eternity is nigh
Let us use this time to try
To serve the Lord
with heart and mind
So that our true home
we shall find
So that our true home
we shall find
The stars have come nearer.
Perhaps they will
come nearer every night.
Quite possibly there will be
no snow this year.
Oh, that was a good dinner!
They all thought
it was a very good dinner.
I was once head chef
at the Caf Anglais.
We'll all remember
this evening
when you've gone back
to Paris.
I'm not going back to Paris.
You're not going back to Paris?
No one's waiting
for me there.
They're all gone.
And I have no money.
No money?
But the 10,000 francs?
All spent.
Ten thousand francs?
Dinner for 12 at the Caf Anglais
costs 10,000 francs.
But dear Babette,
you ought not to have given away
all you had for our sake.
It wasn't just for your sake.
So you will be poor now
all your life?
A great artist is never poor.
Was this the sort of dinner
you'd prepare at the Caf Anglais?
I could make them happy
when I did my very best.
Papin understood that.
Achille Papin?
He'd say...
Through all the world there goes
one long cry from the heart of the artist:
Give me leave
to do my utmost.
But this is not the end,
I feel for certain
that this is not the end.
In paradise
you will be the great artist
God meant you to be.
Ah, how you will enchant
the angels!