Movie Inspired Picnics

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

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  1. Ah Lori-Anne, you’ve struck a chord with me. I’ve fantasized about such a picnic up a winding mountain path in some wildflower filled meadow. I wonder if I saw it in a movie…. You might have just inspired me to make it come true!

  2. You had me at “Baroness Karen Blixen.” How I long to sit on those hills, in what would no doubt be the most horrifyingly touristy manner, and breath the clean air of the African highlands…

    …of course the reality is that I’m none too keen to troupe off to Kenya now that I have little tiny babies, be it with or without them, but one day, one day…

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