Film: Supper for the Dead Souls, dir. Ignazio Figus, 2017

By |November 11th, 2019|Country: |

This review of a film that deals with food & drink is part of a short series of menu & film pairings that we propose to those hungry for some nourishment in their bellies and brains alike. See the full dinner menu here

On November 1, Sardinians cook a traditional meal for the spirits of their deceased: a rare opportunity to participate in the preparation made by the region’s leading ethnographic filmmaker

Supper for the Dead Souls, Ignazio Figus, movie poster
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PAIR WITH: Roast meats, pasta, flatbreads, fresh fruit, including quince, liquor, cigarettes.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Every year on November 1, Sardinians host meals for their deceased. Spirits can’t eat, but they can inhale the aromas of carefully prepared dishes, and understand that they are still loved, remembered, and cared for. The film follows one such woman as she makes supper for her late beloveds.

WHO MADE IT: Ignazio Figus is a Sardinian ethnographic film director, who works to document the lives and traditions of people in his home region. For “Supper for the Dead Souls,” he engaged a local woman, Pasqua Goddi, and filmed her as she prepared the feast at her home in Orune, Sardinia.

WHY DO WE CARE: Food, tradition, and ritual are all interlinked, and there are many world cultures in which sharing food with the departed is part of the mourning process, as well as the element of the wake. It’s crucial that we understand the sociology of meals, communal and solitary, and realize that they don’t exist in a vacuum. Besides, is there anything more delicious than watching homemade pasta being crafted?

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: It’s always fascinating to watch Italian women cook in their home kitchens and to observe the way magic is born out of the hearth, from the hands whisking, mixing, ladling. When the cooking is all framed within a ritual of remembrance, it takes on a surreal, dramatic quality. Enhanced by Figus’s dramatic black and white chiaroscuro, “Supper for the Dead Souls” is a work of transcendent beauty and profound sadness.

Supper for the Dead Souls, 2017
Director: Ignazio Figus

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