There’s love of food, and then, there’s “Food Porn.” Perhaps you are unfamiliar with this innocuous (despite its lascivious name) sub-genre of film making?
Not to be confused with “Porn with Food,” Food Porn is the total adoration of food through the lens of a camera: extreme close-ups, slow motion, animation, dramatic music. No small talk, just food that positively begs to be ravished by you, glistening with appetizing anticipation.
Normally reserved for hard core foodies (and miniwheats commercials), Food Porn made its first foray into the lime light last Saturday at Tribeca Cinemas with the Fifth Annual NYC Food Film Festival. Celebrating the lush purity of just how good film can look on screen, the screening’s attendees were treated not only to some intensely explicit visuals, but (in keeping with the philosophy of the Food Film Fest) were able to simultaneously taste the delights they were witnessing on screen.
By the supremely deft hands of Brad Farmerie (the executive chef and genius d’cuisine of NYC’s newly opened Saxon+Parole) we were guided through the cinematic evening via succulent octopus adorned with flecks of olives, rosemary and marinated, sun-dried tomatoes; vodka-poached lobster with a red saffron sauce; and a plate of blood sausage and pig’s head terrine.
It was a surprisingly complex experience to watch the detailed preparation of a particular dish while on the brink of consuming it. In some cases, my mouth watered with a Pavlovian response, other times, I felt conflicted. Watching an octopus (we were to be convinced it was thinking lovingly of the woman who would later eat him in a restaurant!?!) serenely float in the ocean made me feel almost guilty for knowing I would be drooling over pulpo a minute later. Watching copious amounts of blood poured over carrots and onions and then excreted into sausage casing made me thankful of my strict “pescatarian” diet. Still, others beside me whooped joyously upon tasting the delicacy.
Meanwhile, in the Tribeca Cinema events space outside the theater, the party didn’t stop–neither with raucously friendly foodies, nor with surprisingly yummy beer cocktails and additional delectable bites (chocolates by Artisen and Pure, cheeses by Jarlsberg, and additional amuse bouche from Saxon+Parole).
The only misstep of the night was perhaps due to the fact that this was the first ever Food Porn festival screening. The debut attracted a large (and quite hungry) crowd and due to some unexplained mix up, the two originally scheduled screenings were stretched into three. Unprepared for three screenings, those of us who had to wait 2 hours to actually watch anything (let alone, eat anything!), were sadly deprived of many of the foods we had hoped to try. A measly bit of cold lobster did not live up to the expectations that arose when we saw heaping plates of it headed to the earlier screenings.
Luckily for those who could partake, the “turtle burgers” were vast in supply, and comprised of a hearty grouping of bacon, ground turkey, and mini hot dogs, shaped into a turtle-like representation. Those who had fully partaken of the bar during the lengthy delays were beside themselves with the fun-loving and (I assume) wildly delicious treat.
Many of the filmmakers were on hand, as delighted to be a part of the festival as their fans were to celebrate their achievements. The fun, celebratory spirit of the night won us all over in the end, as did the silky chocolate pots du creme.
Event photos by Jeffery Owens for Socially Superlative. Film stills courtesy of the Food Film Festival.
The Food Porn Film Line Up (in alphabetical order):
Amor Pulpo Dir. John Craig Ross – Prod. Laurie Pila Horowitz – 4:59 mins website Far out at sea, an octopus caught a boat and came to the city where he met the woman who dreamed him to be.
Changua Dir/Prod Ximena Sanchez – 2:38 mins Food porn following the construction of a traditional Andean breakfast soup.
Dinner for Two: An Edible Valentine in Three Acts Dir. John Craig Ross – Prod. Sarah Breckenridge – For Fine Cooking 6:36 mins website Part food porn, part how-to, this short film documents the making of a three-course meal and includes romance, suspense and murder.
Fun with Pig at Saxon+Parole Dir/Prod George Motz – 5:00 mins (screening out of competition) Food porn that follows chef Brad Farmerie through the construction of two spectacular pig dishes at the new Saxon+Parole.
How To Make a Turtle Burger Dir/Prod Jason Lam – 5:28 mins website Director Jason Lam’s redneck roommate makes a bacon-wrapped turtle burger.
Pastry Paris Dir. Joel Herm – Prod. Susan Hochbaum – 3 mins website Visually arresting Parisian pastries photographed with their sculptural Parisian counterparts.
XXX Dir. Joe Pacheo and Stavros Stavropoulos – 1 min. (screening out of competition) Crazy, sexy, canimation set to Klezmer music
Zergut Dirs. Natasha Subramaniam & Alisa Lapidus – Prods. Natasha Subramaniam & Alisa Lapidus- 5:45 mins website Animated food porn where the moldy, forgotten foods in the rear of a refrigerator rise up against the fresh foods that reside up front.