UNH Speakers Bureau
Food and Identity in World Cinema
During the past few decades, scholars have begun to study food and eating in a more serious way, examining how food does much more than merely satisfy a basic biological need in human beings. Among other things, food has been shown to reflect cultural values, to organize social relations, and to shape personal identity. Indeed, food not only nourishes, as Claude Levi-Strauss once famously put it, it also signifies. Nutritional considerations alone, he pointed out, do not adequately explain the ideology, values and behavior involved in the production, preparation, distribution and consumption of food. As a result, food and eating provide a powerfully concentrated “language” that a creative artist – such as a writer or a filmmaker – can use to articulate moral values, express philosophical ideas, and reflect social relations.