At Film Space on Saturdays at 7 pm
June is “The Month of Cuisine” at Film Space.
Film Space is to the right and in the back of the CMU Art Museum, in the Media Arts and Design building across from the ballet school. Showings are in a classroom on the second floor or on the roof, weather permitting. For the roof, you might want to bring something to sit on or lie on. And, if on the roof, the start might be delayed while everyone waits for it to get darker. A contribution is requested in the donation box at the entrance – you should leave 20 baht. Well worth supporting.
At Film Space Saturday, June 13: Udon / 饂飩（うどん）(2006) by Katsuyuki Motohiro – 134 mins – Japan, Comedy/ Drama.
A dramedy about the relationship between an aspiring comic and his stubborn noodlemaker father.
A Nutshell Review: Don't watch Udon on an empty stomach, or you'll be tempted to gorge on those Japanese noodles right after the screening. [See picture above.] Despite its simple presentation, watching bowls after bowls of noodles in your face, and the characters slurping them down with gusto, somehow leaves you with an imagined flavor in your mouth as they smack their lips, while you smack at nothing.
The film is as simple as a bowl of udon noodles [See picture above.], with prime ingredients being the fat noodles, the broth, a sprinkle of spring onions, and an egg.
YesAsia: A heartwarming comedy about family, life, and that perfect bowl of Udon [See picture above]. It’s an entire film dedicated to the magic of those chewy wheat noodles. [See picture above.]
Kosuke (Yusuke Santamaria), the son of an udon shop owner, is from a tiny rural town in Kagawa prefecture known for its udon noodles [See picture.]. Kosuke, however, is sick of his hometown, and even more sick of udon. He decides to try his luck in New York, only to return six years later in debt-ridden disappointment. Back at home, he meets a flighty food column editor, and the two happen upon a bowl of delicious udon noodles that will change their lives.
An udon enthusiast and Kagawa native himself, Motohiro did extensive field research to find the best shops and recipes to showcase on screen and help spread the love for the noodle. The filmmakers even took their mission abroad by opening an udon stand at the 2006 Cannes film market. An earnest yet tongue-in-cheek celebration of life and food, Udon is a mouth-watering joy to watch. [See picture.]
Available on DVD from YesAsia.
At Film Space Saturday, June 20: Delicatessen (1991) by Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet – 99 mins – France, Comedy/ Drama/ Fantasy/ Horror/ Romance. Rated R in the US for violence. Generally favorable reviews: 66/54 out of 100.
A post-apocalyptic surrealist black comedy about the landlord of an apartment building who creates cannibalistic meals for his odd tenants.
IMDb viewer: Delicatessen is a very original comedy from Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who also directed the great Amélie. It tells the story of Louison (Dominique Pinon) who is the new helper of a landlord named Clapet (Jean-Claude Dreyfus). Clapet is a butcher and in a world where food is rare he prepares cannibalistic meals for the people in his building. Louison is the new meal and the people in the building wait for Clapet to kill him so they can eat. Clapet's daughter Julie (Marie-Laure Dougnac) falls in love with Louison and to save him she seeks help from an underground group.
You have read the above and you must understand Delicatessen is not a normal movie. Although its subject is close to very scary the movie is a comedy and to be honest it is very funny at times. Listen to the way people talk here. Especially the conversation between the butcher and a mailman is very funny. The underground group gets a lot of laughs as well. The movie hints at real horror images but never gives us that. Most of the time the tension is broken with something funny.
Delicatessen is not only pretty funny, it looks terrific as well. From the great opening sequence to the last shot it is visually perfect. The production design and especially the cinematography add a lot to the movie's whole atmosphere. May be it is not for everyone, some will find it ridiculous or the idea too lugubrious, may be it is, but the way the subject is handled is the right way. At least it is interesting and therefore already worth seeing.
Available on DVD from Amazon.com.
At Film Space Saturday, June 27: Salmer fra kjøkkenet [Norway] / Kitchen Stories / Psalmer från köket [Sweden] / Psalms from the Kitchen(2003) by Bent Hamer – 99 mins – Norway/ Sweden, Comedy/ Drama. In Norwegian and Swedish with English subtitles. Generally favorable reviews: 73 out of 100.
Rotten Tomatoes: By turns touching and funny, this Norwegian import offers quietly absorbing commentary on modern life and friendship. A quaint story about the friendship between two aging men, Kitchen Stories is packaged as a comedy with a very strange premise. It is based on research conducted in Sweden in the 1950s when women were observed in the kitchen for a study to determine the best housework techniques. In the film, a fictional plotline concerns a team of Swedish scientists--all men--hired to observe bachelors living alone in Norway. Their methods are absurd. The observers live in funny little trailers outside their subjects' houses. They sit in high, intimidating chairs placed in the corner of their subjects' kitchens where they take notes on a clipboard. Finally, there is a strict rule that the observer and the subject must not speak to each other or make contact of any kind. This last rule is impossible to follow, and in the case of observer Folke (Tomas Norstrom) and subject Isak (Joachim Calmeyer) it is ignored. The two aging men become fast friends, passing wintry afternoons in the rural countryside sipping coffee, smoking pipes, and telling each other fantastic stories. Writer-director Bent Hamer has created a sweet and pleasing comedy with Kitchen Stories, using excellent photography, interesting colors, and great performances to make a success of an uncomplicated plot.
The scores given, on a basis of 100, are from two web sources. The first, in bold, is from Metacritic.com, and the other is from RottenTomatoes.com. Both read a great number of critics and convert what is said into scores, which are then averaged. For movies released in the US only.