For this edition of Dinner & A Movie we’d like to highlight four awesome indie films and four meals to accompany them. These films have been hand-picked for guaranteed enjoyment…if you haven’t seen them already, please do so at your earliest convenience.
1. Black Swan + Arròs Negre (via Gourmet Traveler)
(Image via Shabaku on Deviantart)
Black Swan is an exhilarating movie depicting the competition and struggle involved with the world of ballet. A 2010 psychological thriller, it quickly gained independent acclaim as well as box office success. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, the film stars Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers an ambitious ballerina trying to make the lead role for the upcoming production of Swan Lake. The movie is really suspenseful as Nina struggles with herself and her rival Lily (Mila Kunis) to find the passion necessary to fulfill the role of Black Swan in the production. The movie is not only an emotional roller coaster ride, but it’s also a great presentation of the world of ballet performance. If you haven’t seen it already and enjoy psychological thrillers, then you really must check it with friends and/or loved ones (especially if you’re like me and get easily terrified during these things).
A great dish to cook and consume while watching Black Swan is Arròs negre. It’s a Valencian and Catalan dish made with cuttlefish (or squid) and rice. The traditional recipe calls for squid ink, cuttlefish or squid, white rice, garlic, green cubanelle peppers, sweet paprika, olive oil, and seafood broth. Many cooks add other seafood as well, such as crab and shrimp. The dish’s dark color comes from squid ink which also enhances its seafood flavor. Gourmet Traveler has a great take on the dish with their recipe (see above).
2. Un Prophète (A Prophet) + Kongbap (via Kimchimari)
(Image via Craig Skinner Film)
A Prophet is a 2009 French prison drama directed by Jacques Audiard and starring Tahar Rahim as Malik, an imprisoned petty criminal of Algerian origins. The film depicts his experiences in prison and how he manages/mismanages the inmate heirarchy and rivalries between the Corsicans and Muslims. The prison setting is a society in and of itself and Malik has to find a way to survive with powerful gang members, rivalries, revenge plots, and other schemes that threaten his life. It would be an awesome movie just for the dramatic plot, but A Prophet adds the component of being an educational production about French society, prison, and the immigrant experience.
Kongbap is a Korean dish consisting of brown or white rice cooked together with one or more beans and sometimes other grains. This concoction was not always popular in Korea due to its association with prison. The Korean phrase kongbap meokda (“to eat kongbap”) translates colloquially as “to be imprisoned”. However with the recent health food trend in South Korea, it is becoming more popular in Korean households home and abroad. You can make it from scratch by combining and cooking together dried rice and beans, although it is also commercially available in premixed packages throughout Korea as well as Korean grocery stories in the US. Typical ingredients include brown rice, green pees, azuki beans, black soybeans, Job’s tears, black rice, barley, and sorghum.
3. Cidade de Deus (City of God) + Feijoada (via Food Network)
(Image via AJ Shawler)
This 2o02 Brazilian crime drama film depicts the life and crime of the shantytowns/suburbs of Rio de Janeiro though the viewpoint of Rocket, a quiet yet street smart inhabitant who grows up around the violence while trying not to get engulfed by it. The movie shows that environment profoundly affects a person’s outcome and kicks off with the foreboding saying “If you run, the beast catches; if you stay, the beast eats”. This award-winning movie will carry you off into the world of the Cidade de Deus as you find yourself cheering for Rocket to survive his dire surroundings.
Feijoada has been described as a national dish of Brazil. It’s prepared with beans, a variety of salted pork or beef products, bacon, smoked pork ribs, and at least two types of smoked sausage and jerked beef. The stew is best prepared over low fire in a thick clay pot.
4. Jeff Who Lives at Home + Shepherd’s Pie (via She Knows)
(Photo via Self Aware Nerd)
Jeff Who Lives at Home is a funny comedy-drama that I fortuitously found on Netflix last year. Starring Jason Segel and Ed Helms, the 2011 film is about two brothers and their contrasting lives. One is a 30-year old stoner still living with his mother and the other is a successful businessman who becomes increasingly upset over his wife’s possible infidelity. Jeff, having an outlook similar to that promoted in the movie Signs, looks for his destiny by following random occurrences and trying to figure out what they mean while his brother deals with more concrete problems. Jason Segel and Ed Helms make a funny pair in this movie of subtle humor and intersecting story lines.
Shepherd’s pie is a well known dish that is typical in many momma’s boy upbringings. A meat pie with a crust of mashed potatoes, ingredients popular in the US include ground beef, chopped onion, celery, thyme, potatoes, and cheese. This sleep-inducing soul food is a great dinner and perfect for eating with Jeff Who Lives at Home.
What’s your favorite indie film?