To continue our “In Depth” series, today we’re focusing on Spring Showcase films that have a food/drink theme. These are: BLOOD INTO WINE, CAFE SEOUL, THE CHEF OF SOUTH POLAR, and TODAY’S SPECIAL. Read more after the break about these four films and how they’ll make you hungry or thirsty when you leave the movie theater.
[img_assist|nid=284|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=165|height=240]Did you know that grapes will grow in Arizona? We didn’t either. If you watch BLOOD INTO WINE you can find out how musician Maynard James Keenan (TOOL, A Perfect Circle) and winemaker Eric Glomski are making wines in Verde Valley, north of Phoenix. This documentary also features Milla Jovovich, Fairuza Balk, Bob Odenkirk and Patton Oswalt.
Their co-founded label is AZ Stronghold, while Keenan has two other vineyards, Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards, all located in Arizona. The website for Caduceus is definitely worth a look, it features an excellent design. We can tell that they’re in it for the love of making wine, not just to make some money.
[img_assist|nid=285|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=183|height=240]CAFE SEOUL is a Japanese/South Korean co-production, directed by Take Masaharu and starring Kim Dong-wook (COFFEE PRINCE), Kim Jung-hoon (GOONG), Choi Sung-min, and Saito Takumi (male lead in VAMPIRE GIRL VS FRANKENSTEIN GIRL). The film is about a small confectionary shop in Seoul called “Peony Hall”, run by the eldest of three brothers. The brothers have been living separate lives since their parents were killed in a car accident. When the shop is in danger due to the owner being harrassed by local gangsters, the brothers pull together and reconnect as a family.
If you liked ANTIQUE (Korean film based on a Japanese manga), then i’m sure you’ll like CAFE SEOUL as well. Something to take note of is that Korea is becoming a more attractive place for foreign film productions. Another Spring Showcase 2010 film, A BRAND NEW LIFE, was also shot in Korea last year. It deals with a young Korean girl sent to France for adoption.
[img_assist|nid=286|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=172|height=240]The one film above all others this spring that will leave your stomach growling is THE CHEF OF SOUTH POLAR. It’s director Okita Shuichi’s commercial feature film debut, after his first feature THE WONDERFUL WORLD was shown on a non-commercial basis in 2006.
Adapted from an essay by author and chef Nishimura Jun, this light-hearted comedy is about eight men stationed at Dome Fuji Station at the South Pole. It focuses on Nishimura’s point of view, as he creates extravagant dishes for his team. From foie gras, lobster to Matsuzaka beef (Wagyū, similar to Kobe beef), the dishes are excellent, particularly considering the very inhospitable climate outside (average temperature -54C). If you liked the classic Japanese film TAMPOPO, give this a film a try. Since this film had a relatively small release in Japan and Korea, it will likely be hard to get ahold of on DVD, so this will be the only chance to watch in Hawaii for now.
[img_assist|nid=287|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=162|height=240]If you like your food films with a little spice and a little love, don’t miss romantic comedy TODAY’S SPECIAL, by director David Kaplan. You may have seen Mr. Kaplan’s first feature film (YEAR OF THE FISH) when we showed it at HIFF 2007. TODAY’S SPECIAL is a romantic comedy set in a struggling Indian restaurant located in Queens, New York. It stars Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show), Madhur Jaffrey and famous Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah. This film recently opened the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival.
Samir (Mandvi) is an aspiring sous chef who gets passed over for a promotion then resigns, going home to Jackson Heights, Queens to help his family with their restaurant “Tandoori Palace”. Samir’s mother is played by Madhur Jaffrey, who is famous in the world of Indian cuisine, similar to Julia Child’s relationship with French cuisine. Of course, the real star of this film is the mouthwatering Indian food. We can’t describe it enough with words, you’ll just have to see it on the big screen.