The Baroness Karen Blixen wrote in her book, Out of Africa, about champagne in the forest out of her good crystal glasses, and bringing the gramophone on safari. Naturally, such indulgences were not overlooked in the 1985 film by the same name, starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford (pictured, above).
As I plan a family picnic of my own this weekend, I’ve been thinking about how watching such stylish al fresco dining has influenced me and the atmosphere I want to create on such occasions.
I don’t think I go quite as decadent as some of my favourite picnic scenes from movies, but I do favour glass over plastic, wicker over canvas and homemade food over deli selections.
I think the lightbulb first went off in my teens, while watching the Quartermaines make a spectacle of themselves at a Fourth of July picnic on one of my (then) favourite soaps, General Hospital. Yes, I was quite the soap addict at one time.
I think they were supposed to look a little bit absurd, but it left me thinking, “now that’s the way to do a picnic!”
Here are some more of my favourite inspirations:
These two shots come from the 1996 version of Jane Austen’s Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma and Jeremy Northam as Mr. Knightly. I love the little baskets of fruit and plates full of pastries and goodies. I can’t tell if those are silver pitchers or mugs, but they look right at home in this spread.
This scene, on an Italian hillside, comes from Enchanted April, (1992). Of course, any kind of picnic on a hillside in Italy will do.
I love this little picnic for two from Ladies in Lavender (2004), starring Judy Dench and Maggie Smith. Set up just a few feet from the seashore in England’s Cornwall, they bring an elegance to what looks like it’s supposed to be a casual, almost rustic affair.
If it turns out pretty enough, I might share some shots of this weekend’s picnic. In the meantime, do you have a favourite movie picnic scene?
– Words by Lori-Anne Poirier
– Photos taken from the respective movies