food in the arts  




Atom Egoyan/ 1999/ UK & Ireland/ 116mins

n 1994, Irish author William Trevor won his third Whitbread Prize for his novel, Felicia's Journey. The film rights to the work were secured by Mel Gibson's Icon Productions, who later signed on Atom to write the screenplay and direct. 

Originally wanting to transfer the story to Canada for the film, the book's author maintained that the location of the story be maintained. Consequently, the entire movie was shot overseas, with a largely British crew. The scenes in Ireland were shot in Glanworth, while the city locations in England were filmed in Birmingham. 

Felicia's Journey premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May, 1999. After playing at the Toronto Film Festival in September, the film was released in the US in November 1999.

Joseph Ambrose Hilditch is a catering manager at a large factory where he is known only as Mr. Hilditch. He is passionate about his work, dedicated to providing people with good food prepared with care. Food is also important in his private life. Each night, the middle-aged bachelor cooks elaborate formal dinners for his solitary enjoyment, working from videotapes of a 1950s cooking show, meticulously adhering to the instructions of the glamorous French hostess. Using china, crystal and silver, he takes his meals in the formal dining room of his big house. Like his meals, Hilditch's home decor dates from the 1950s, as does the green Morris Minor he drives and the music he listens to.

Seventeen and pregnant, Felicia has left her home in Ireland for the first time, journeying to England's industrial Midlands in search of her lover, Johnny Lysaght. Accustomed to walking among the rich green fields and ancient ruins of her hometown, she now finds herself under the shadows of Birmingham's concrete highways and looming smokestacks. Felicia has scant information regarding Johnny's whereabouts. She knows only that Johnny works at a lawn mower factory somewhere around Birmingham, because he told her so.

It is through her quest for Johnny that Felicia first encounters Hilditch, when she approaches him for information on the grounds of his factory. They meet again by chance later that day, and Hilditch begins to take a more active interest in the clearly troubled young woman, so alone in an unfamiliar place. He catches up with her the following morning at a bed-and-breakfast and volunteers his help.

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 Felicia's Journey [1999] (REGION 1){NTSC} -

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