food in the arts


Dir-Scr: Sandra Nettlebeck/ Cast: Martina Gedeck, Sergio Castellito, Maxime Foerste/ Germany/ 2001/ 107 mins 
Mostly Martha
Martha is the consummate successful single woman, a celebrated chef at a ritzy Hamburg restaurant. Work aside, the rest of her life is a rather routine affair, with passion firmly channelled into her culinary creations. Everything changes, however, when her single parent sister dies in an accident and Martha has to take in her eight year old niece. Disturbance in Martha's home life is mirrored by disruption at work, with the arrival of new recruit Mario, a charismatic Italian chef whose relaxed manner endears him to pretty much everyone except Martha. Firmly in the Big Night/ Eat Drink Man Woman tradition, this glossy foodie melodrama is intelligent mainstream movie-making with strong romantic appeal. With its attractive female lead, sassy kid and a brace of unfeasibly compassionate would-be lovers, this nice looking and easy-on-the-ear film left audiences cheering when it premiered at the Locarno film festival earlier this year.

"I wanted for a long time to make a film about a woman who could cook but never enjoyed eating," said the director, Sandra Nettlebeck, after the film's screening at the 2001 Regius London Film festival. "The food scenes reveal her failure to communicate with both her staff and her family."

'Almost single-handedly accounting for the film's emotional impact is the beautiful Gedeck...Looking natural, as if she were merely lending herself to the manipulations of script, camera and editing, Gedeck drifts along in a sensual haze, pulled this way and that by need, guilt and desire, gradually transforming to a blossoming and winning woman.' Emmanuel Levy, Variety

Sandra Hebron


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Mostly Martha [DVD] [2003] (UK) 
Mostly Martha [DVD] [2003] (USA)
Mostly Martha [DVD] [2003] (D) [UK Import]
Mostly Martha [DVD] [2003] (FR)