A couple of weeks ago I introduced my blog series, Film Food, with this particular mini-series looking at dreamers and how food, especially cakes, relate to their stories. Like Walter Mitty, Amélie Poulain makes a habit of living as much in her daydreams as everyday life. And like Walter, it is easier to weave a love story in her mind than in reality, albeit much more of a whimsical one than Walter Mitty’s imaginary stunts!

In this particular scene, Amélie is at home and frustrated with how things seem to be working out with Nino. So she does what many of us do at times of stress – she bakes. Until she discovers that she has no yeast left (yeast in a cake? We’ll come to that later…) and clearly she is not in the mood to go back out. To calm herself down she starts to dream of Nino again, imagining that he runs to the market for her missing ingredient.

In this beautiful dream sequence, we see to the left as she pictures Nino running his hand along the beaded curtain to surprise her, and in her actual apartment to the right the curtain rattles in response. However as she whips around it turns out to be her cat coming into the kitchen, bringing her back to reality with a jolt.

Nino does arrive at her apartment unexpectedly, but without the yeast. After all, ultimately the world doesn’t very closely resemble the one in Amélie’s daydreams, although like Walter Mitty she does embark on some ‘adventures’ (very miniature ones around Paris) which help her to come out of her shell a little. Through these she eventually learns that she can make friends and discover love in her real life in a way which differs from her imaginary worst case scenarios (seeing her wasted life as a tragic film) or complete fantasies (which mostly involve getting one up on M. Collignon!).

The ending is a sweet but quirky one; it’s hard not to enjoy the two odd souls who fall for one another without ever really speaking. To both, it felt safer to dream about the other. Les temps sont durs pour les rêveurs. I feel that times are hard for dreamers, now as much as ever.

(one of my favourite other dream sequences, this time from Nino’s!)

Like the film the Kouign Amann is extremely sweet, and a little odd. I’ve never made a cake like this… it’s actually more like a half-way house between bread (it begins with a yeast based dough) and puff pastry (because you fold in butter in layers).

The recipe is from someone else’s blog – a big thanks to their research which identifies this traditional Breton bake from a tiny mention in the film! Plus it has a useful step-by-step guide. The film Amelie is a constant source of inspiration to me and if you haven’t already seen it a certain scene was the basis of this time-lapse video I made three years ago. Three years. Blimey. Perhaps I’m the one who needs to step out of my daydream world.
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