(This is the first post of what will hopefully become a series on food featured in films.)
In Luca Guadagino's I Am Love, there is as much emotional devastation to feast on as there is glamour and beauty for the eyes. The food is inescapable: much of the plot revolves around it, Tilda Swinton's character grows obsessed with it (among other things), to the point where the New Yorker's film critic Anthony Lane has proclaimed that "the best sex you will get all year, if that’s what you crave in your moviegoing, is between Tilda Swinton and a prawn."
There is one dish in particular that features heavily in the story arc: ukha, a clear Russian fish soup, together with root vegetables, leeks, potato, lime, dill, and other herbs and spices. It is one of few things that Emma (Swinton's character) brings from her Russian upbringing into her Italian life, something she shares intimately with her son, but also something that ultimately signals her betrayal and brings forth the end of life as she knows it. Its time on screen is short, though its impact is immense. As Guadagino puts it, "I love the idea of the transparency of the broth and Emma is transparent, translucent and intense…like that broth."