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Food & Feast (Preview): Nénette et Boni (1996)

Sometimes things get busy. People have birthdays. Major film conferences loom on the horizon. Personal lives intervene. This means that, occasionally, screenings get postponed.

Such was the case for our March 1 Cinematheque event, during which I was planning to present Nénette et Boni (1996). Cinematheque, as we’ve noted before, is our graduate student-run, bi-weekly (every two weeks, not twice a week) screening series, organized according to a given theme. If you followed Special Affects last month, you know that this semester’s theme is “Food & Feast.” Our Cinematheque organizers describe movies that fit under the food and feast bumbershoot this way: “films that not only indulge and overwhelm our gustatory sensibilities, but remind us that we see with our taste buds as well as our eyes, that we think with our stomachs as well as our minds.”

Nenette et Boni (1996) builds upon this by suggesting that we think with our appetites—gustatory, sexual, and psychological. Or that’s not quite right. It’s more that our thinking percolates through various uncontrollable urges that swirl together a brew of alternately repulsive and appetizing sauces, meats, creams, doughs, cobs, and French sticks. (I don’t drink coffee, so the mixed metaphor in the previous sentence almost certainly makes no sense.)

Since we are still planning to show the film at some point later this semester, I don’t want to spoil the film here. I don’t even want to tell you how the Nénette and Boni of the title are related. But let me place a few key terms around some illustrative still images to whet your appetite for the film to come. If you like what you see here (or even if you just want to see a better version of what’s here), check out the Special Affects tumblr:

pizza truck

bunny droppings

 McDonald’s bun, hamburgerless


French bakery

                                                                                lobster bisque

pungent green

Vincent Gallo, American man


 warm, white rabbit

“God Only Knows”

             purring machine, American brewer

                                                                               McDonald’s meat, bunless

Shouting loud from the rooftops, “Come and eat me!”