Saturday, 29 January 2011

Food on Film. 2. Ratatouille

I am a big fan of Pixar and so it's no surprise that the studio's 8th film Ratatouille (2007) is my favourite animated Food Film. For each of their films, Pixar set itself technical challenges (e.g., hair, water, shiny metallic surfaces). In Ratatouille the challenge was to create appealing computer-generated food, using sub-surface light scattering techniques and new methods for modelling organic textures.

The animators attended culinary school, and studied how foods change when they are cooked and when they rot. The celebrated chef Thomas Keller designed dishes specifically for the film, including the ratatouille. Ferran Adrià, of El Bulli fame, was also an advisor on the film and his voice is used for one of the characters in the Spanish language version.

The film was directed by Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava, and featured voice work by Patten Oswalt, Lou Romano, Janeane Garofalo and Peter O'Toole. The story is about a young rat who arrives in Paris, and dreams of becoming a chef. The food looks good, the comedy is funny, and the outcome genuinely affecting. 

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