food in the arts




Dir: David Lean / Writing credits:  T.E. Lawrence (writings) Robert Bolt /1962
When it come to making epics, David Lean is the master and what better proof than this masterpiece. "Lawrence Of Arabia" was first shown in 1962 and after almost 50 years later, it is still beautiful. The story of T. E. Lawrence is wonderfully brought to us by David Lean, director of another masterpiece called "The Bridge On The River Kwai".

David Lean has shown us a man's long, yet never boring journey into the deserts of Arabia. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) is an ordinary man that becomes a hero during his extensive tenure in Arabia. He becomes a traveller, a great man, and a leader to the people that he has associated with. Only director David Lean could have given us a movie experience like this.

An assortment of phenomenal actors are collected for this movie and what a cast! Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn, Alec Guinness and so much more portray their characters with intensity and believability. As Lawrence, Peter O'Toole  made the role his own. Omar Sharif as Ali is one of the most charismatic characters in film history.
Extract from notebooks of T.E. Lawrence:

"We sat on the tribal lurid and worn red rugs each side of the tent, with a dusty space in the middle, leaning our elbows on camel saddles covered with felt rugs.

"White and brown coffee were brought round in drinking cups not rinsed and so [a] round flavour and then two men came in carrying a copper butt, sixty inches across and perhaps five inches deep brimful of white rice topped with legs of sheep and ribs within the middle the boiled head, afterward the neck buried in the rice to the ears, which stuck up like withered leaves, the jaws open to cracking point and tawning upwards showing the open throat, the tongue sticking to the teeth, and the gristling hair of the nostrils and jaws round the incisors, lips left full.

"This was set down on the earth between us, steaming hot, and then men carried in a black cauldron, eighteen inches deep, from which blistered enamelled iron bowl and tin...they ladled out in small pieces all the rest of the inside and underside of the sheep, little bits of yellow intestine, the white cushion of the tail and white tail fat and brown muscle and skin and meat floating in steaming fat, the liquid cooking sheep's butter of the Bedouin.

"These bowls full of scraps they poured over the larger pieces in the bath till there was a pyramid of flesh, and till the rice around its base rose and floated in the oil.

"The host, groping in the cauldron, had proudly found and placed on the apex, the liver of the sheep. He urged us, seeming unwilling, to sit in the dust, then with a bismullah al Rahman el Rahim [In the name of God, the Beneficient, the Merciful] we plunge our hands into the pile and kneaded neat little balls of rice and liver and fat and flesh and swallow them, and suck our fingers to make easier the rolling of the next, while the host with a foot long dagger with a silver hilt cut, off the larger bones, strips of meat easily torn by the fingers to mouth size - for the sheep had been boiled in milk, and then seethed in butter, and was tender...

"When we have eaten our fill we stop, a few moments, crouching round the dish, with our right wrists resting on our knees, and our right hands hanging over the dish, with the fat and oil and rice cooling and congealing onto them in a thick swab, till the others are finished, and then with an explosive Maazibna Gauwak Allah [host, may God strengthen thee] all the circle breaks up suddenly, and we group ourselves outside the rugs while a man with a coffee cup ladles water from a wooden bowl over our fingers and the tribal cake of soap goes round. Then a cup of coffee."

T.E.L. - May 1917

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