18 September 2014

The 5th Annual Tokyo Food Lovers Film Festival / 第5回東京ごはん映画祭

The 5th Annual Tokyo Food Lovers Film Festival (第5回東京ごはん映画祭)

 A festival that brings together “delicious films” and “delicious food”.

Dates: October 10th – 24th, 2014
Locations: Omotesando Hills and the Image Forum Theatre (Shibuya)
1010()13() 表参道ヒルズ 本館B3F スペース オー
1011()24() シアター・イメージフォーラム(渋谷)

The Tokyo Gohan Film Festival is back for its fifth year.  “Gohan” is the Japanese word for “meal”.  In the festival notes, the organizers point out that the prefix “Go-” in front of the word for “meal” (“han”) demonstrates respect and love for the food that they eat.  It is with this desire to share their passion for food that the festival was created.  With Washoku (traditional Japanese cuisine) being added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2013 and Tokyo being named Michelin’s Gourmet Capital of the World for the past seven years, Tokyo is the ideal place for such an event. 

This unique film festival is a celebration of food and film.  Each year, the festival allows foodie film fans to enjoy some of the dishes served up in memorable cinematic dining scenes.  As in previous years, the Tokyo Gohan Film Festival will be presenting a wide range of films from foodie classics like Yasujirō Ozu’s The Flavour of Green Tea over Rice (1952) and Gabriel Axel’s Babette’s Feast (1987) to contemporary favourites like Ken Loach’s The Angels’ Share (2012), Aki Kaurismäki’s Drifting Clouds (1996), and Wong Karwai’s In the Mood for Love (2000).  There is also a selection of documentary films.

Some of the directors and actors are already familiar to the Food Lovers’ Festival audiences.  Glasses director Miwa Nishikawa’s films are famous for their use of food, and films styled by her frequent collaborator Nami Iijima make regular appearances at the festival.  Marianne Sägebrecht makes an appearance in her recent film Omamamia (2012), but she is most famous for her role in Percy Adlon’s Bagdad Café (1987), which played at the festival last year.  Bob Giraldi’s Dinner Rush (2000) starring Danny Aiello and the docs eatrip (2009) by Yuri Nomura and El Bulli: Cooking in Progress (2011) by Gereon Wetzel are back by popular demand. 

This year, the Tokyo Gohan Film Festival announced an official partnership with the San Sebasti án International Film Festival.  A jury from the Tokyo Gohan Film Festival will award a Culinary Cinema Award at this month’s festival (19-24 September).  The contest Culinary Zinema: Film and Gastronomy was originally created in collaboration with the Berlin International Film Festival and the Basque Culinary Centre “to unite cinema, gastronomy and activities related to food in education, science and agriculture.”  Like the Tokyo Gohan Film Fesitval, this section of the San Sebastián festival brings gastronomy-related films together with themed dinners. The award consists of a prize of €10,000 and an Asian premiere of the winning film at the Tokyo Gohan Film Festival. The festival hopes that “this partnership will create a meaningful meeting point for the world’s great food cultures and traditions, and lead towards the future.”

Babette’s Feast 『バベットの晩餐会』
Babettes gæstebud, Gabriel Axel, Denmark, 1987
Feature film, drama
Dish: turtle soup and cailles en sarcophage (quail and foie gras in puff pastry)
Learn more about these dishes in an archival New York Times article from 1988.  Molly O’Neill recreated cailles en sarcophage for the The New York Times and J. Bryan Lowder has written an engaging piece on his attempt at recreated the dish for Slate.

Inheritance 『オリンダのリストランテ』
Herencia, Paula Hernández, Argentina, 2001
Feature film, drama, the Japanese title directly translates as “Olinda’s Restaurant”
Dish: Argentinian cuisine

Drifting Clouds  『浮き雲』
Kauas pilvet karkaavat, Aki Kaurismäki, Finland, 1996
Feature film, drama
Dish: White fish in a Meunière sauce

Omamamia バチカンで逢いましょう
aka “Oma in Roma”, Tomy Wigand, Germany, 2012
Feature film, comedy
Dish: Kaiserschmarrn 

The Angels’ Share 『天使の分け前』
Ken Loach, Scotland, 2012
Feature film, comedy-drama
Dish: Scotch whisky
Scotch whisky is an obvious partner for this film, but I really think that Irn-Bru should have been contacted to introduce the Japanese to the joys of Scotland’s most popular soda pop.

Glasses 『めがね』
Miwa Nishikawa, Japan, 2007
Feature film, drama
Dish:  Japanese breakfast, kakigōri (shaved ice)
One of my favourite Japanese films of the Noughties, read my review to learn more.

The Flavour of Green Tea over Rice 『お茶漬の味』
Yasujirō Ozu, Japan, 1952
Feature film, family drama
Dish: Ochazuke (green tea over rice)

In the Mood for Love 『花様年華』
Wong Karwai, Hong Kong, 2000
Feature film, drama
Dish: food cart style zongzi (chimaki in Japanese) and noodles

Eat Drink Man Woman 『恋人たちの食卓』
Ang Lee, Taiwan, 1994
Feature film, drama
Dish: Taiwanese cuisine, particularly soups

Dinner Rush  『ディナーラッシュ』
Bob Giraldi, USA, 2000
Feature film, drama
Dish: pasta
Check out this review with recipes by Kristin Eddy.

Wings of Desire『ベルリン・天使の詩』
Der Himmel über Berlin, Wim Wenders, West Germany / France, 1987
Feature film, drama
Dish: Coffee

The Dinner『星降る夜のリストランテ』
La cena, Ettore Scola, Italy, 1998
Feature film, drama/comedy
Dish: Italian cuisine
Cooking Up Dreams
De ollas y sueños, Ernesto Caellos, Brazil/Peru, 2009
Dish: Ceviche (fresh Peruvian fish in a marinade) with Pisco Sour (a Peruvian cocktail)

eatrip  eatrip
Yuri Nomura, Japan, 2009
Dish: Roast Chicken in a Green and Lemon Sauce / in a Strawberry and Sayori (fish) Marinade

El Bulli: Cooking in Progress  『エル・ブリの秘密 世界一予約のとれないレストラン』
Gereon Wetzel, GERMANY, 2011)
Dish: El Bulli Creative Cuisine

Go to the festival's official website to learn more about this year's events and guests.