Exploring A Movie Location – Babette’s Feast (1987)

It is quite some time ago since Lars and I have explored a movie location! This time we discuss a masterpiece in Danish cinema and a magnificent place in Denmark. If you are a nature and/or history lover, you really need to pay this place a visit!

The Movie

Some interesting facts:

  • First Danish movie to win an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Denmark would win twice more.
  • Director Gabriel Axel also wrote the screenplay, based on a story by Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen).
  • The movie had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival of 1978 (section of Un Certain Regard). It also won a prize there. And many other awards afterward…
  • The movie features Danish, Swedish, and French actors (like Stéphane Audran, who plays Babette).

What is the movie about? It focuses on two elderly Protestant sisters, their youth, and how a French maid/cook called Babette came into their lives. The second half of the movie centers around the feast itself and its preparations. If you are interested in the menu, check this! If interested in recreating one of the courses, use Google and/or YouTube. The famous “cailles en sarcophage” are easy to prepare and are incredibly delicious (and yes, I speak from personal experience).

Have a look at the mouthwatering trailer!

Choice of Location

The original story by Karen Blixen actually takes place in Norway. Yet, when director Gabriel Axel researched locations there, he found them to be too idyllic. The north of Jutland was a better alternative. Its rough and sometimes somber atmosphere complied more with the story.

There is a lot that works in writing, but when translated to pictures, it doesn’t give at all the same impression or feeling. All the changes I undertook, I did to actually be faithful to Karen Blixen. – Gabriel Axel

The choice of Gabriel Axel ultimately fell on Mårup Kirke. This Romanesque church dates from 1250 and is located on a seaside cliff near Lønstrup. The set designer actually built the village, featured in the movie. After the production, the crew demolished it.

The Church Itself

As I said before, the church dates from the 13th century. Unfortunately, the magnificent landscape is prone to severe wind, which causes significant erosion. Until 2008, there were still services in Mårup Kirke. Afterward, it was gradually dismantled. This was done to prevent parts of the church from falling in the sea.

When Lars and I visited the region around 2012, this is how it looked like. We were absolutely thrilled to be there. Mainly because Babette’s Feast is one of our favorite movies. And we had always dreamed of visiting this location. Fulfilling this dream was an incredible feeling…

Around 2016, nature finally won. What was left of the church, is now completely gone. Of course, the breathtaking landscape that contributed a lot to the atmosphere of the movie is still there.

There are lots of smaller towns in this region of Denmark, where you will certainly find a place to stay. Best use Booking!

If you like this kind of locations, then we have some exciting news for you! Lars and I live about 100 kilometers away from one of Spain’s most famous movie locations. We have been there once, but tend to return soon in order to have more pictures. The place also happens to be one of the most unique European locations.

Two more announcements:

  • I have finally finished editing all the pictures of our recent explorations in the province of Granada. I still have to work on some videos, but at the latest on Monday, I will publish a preview!
  • Next Tuesday is Belgium’s National Holiday and this will not go unnoticed on this website either…

By the way, next week we will also be on the road again!

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