Whether to convey sensuality (Chocolat), generosity (Babette's Feast), or pure decadence (La Grande Bouffe), food has often been used by directors to tell us more about their characters.
Italian melodrama I Am Love is one of these movies, where the pleasures of fine food eventually lead to those of the flesh.
Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin) stars as Emma, a Russian woman who left her country to follow her husband Tancredi Recchi to Italy. Now a member of a wealthy Milanese family, she is the respected mother of three grown-up children. But despite leading the perfect life, Emma feels unfulfilled.
Her world is turned upside down the day she meets Antonio, a talented young chef, who has just opened a new restaurant in partnership with Emma's son... who is also his best friend.
One day, Emma visits the restaurant and orders a dish of Prawns with a sweet and sour vegetable salad. As Emma takes her first bite, she seems to have a quasi-religious experience, bathed in a beam of celestial light and completely oblivious to her surroundings. It's a foodgasm.
This experience ignites in her a sensuality she hadn't felt in years and before you know it, Emma is in the grip of an illicit love affair with Antonio.
This beautifully photographed story, accompanied by an epic soundtrack, is a real treat and chameleon actress Tilda Swinton gives a flawless performance as a woman transformed by love.
To match this movie with the one that tickles Tilda's fancy, here's an exquisite SBS Food recipe that also an homage to Emma's Russian heritage. The easy-to-prepare seafood dish is the perfect way to warm you this winter.
Find this recipe at SBS Food
Watch the I Am Love trailer below or the movie in full at SBS On Demand: