• 'The Hedgehog' (2009) (SBS Movies)Source: SBS Movies
Movies and food are two of the things we do best at SBS, and you can now enjoy the best of both worlds in this new column matching delicious recipes with soul-nourishing films.
Sandra Beeston

27 Jul 2016 - 1:57 PM  UPDATED 30 Sep 2021 - 12:46 PM

This delightful French film, now available at SBS On Demand, is based on the best-selling novel 'The Elegance of the Hedgehog' by Muriel Barbery, which follows the lives of the inhabitants of an elegant Parisian apartment building.

Chief among them is Paloma, a dramatic and wise-beyond-her-years tween who finds her self-absorbed bourgeois family unbearable. Certain she's heading straight “for the fishbowl”, an apparent world “where adults bang like flies on the glass,” Paloma resolves to end her life on the day of her 12th birthday... 

Before Paloma reaches that fateful date, she senses a kindred spirit in the building concierge, Mrs. Michel (Josiane Balasko). The gruff widow has done a very good job at isolating herself from the world in her little lodge, spending as much time as possible with her cat and her beloved literary classics.

When a new neighbour, Japanese widow Mr. Ozu, moves in the building, he realises that there is more to the reclusive concierge than meets the eye, when he overhears her quote a line from Tolstoy’s 'Anna Karenina'.

Intrigued, the refined man invites her to his place for gyoza and ramen, and to watch a Yasujirō Ozu fillm (The Munekata Sisters). The two bond over their love of literature and cinema, and this first rendezvous marks the start of a gentle courtship.

The Hedgehog is an invitation to live life to the fullest - so obviously, chocolate plays a role. One sweet scene between Paloma and her new friend has the pair ponder about the best way to savour dark chocolate: "I wonder what's so nice about chocolate. The substance itself or the crunch of your teeth on it?" She decides she prefers letting it melt slowly on her tongue.

This bittersweet little film moves beyond its dark premise to warm your heart and make you appreciate the little things in life (it might even make want to dust off your literary classics).


As you settle in to watch this lovely film at SBS on Demand, why not create a dish inspired by Mr Ozu? We suggest this hearty and spicy Japanese soup, which is easy to prepare at home. 


Find this recipe at SBS Food

Spicy pork and miso udon noodle soup






Watch 'The Hedgehog'

Sunday 10 October, 10:50pm on SBS World Movies (streaming after at SBS On Demand)
Tuesday 12 October, 3:55am on SBS World Movies

France, 2009
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Language: French, Japanese
Director: Mona Achache
Starring: Josiane Balasko, Garance Le Guillermic, Togo Igawa, Anne Brochet

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Full collection: Dinner and a Movie
Movies and food are two of the things we do best at SBS, and you can now enjoy the best of both worlds in this new column as we match delicious recipes with soul-nourishing films.