Saturday, July 9, 2011

THE CHEF OF THE SOUTH POLE

Eiga Sai 2011
13th Japanese Film Festival
Cinema 4, Shang Cineplex





This film is adapted from the autobiographical writings of Jun Nishimura, a chef. He served with the Japanese Coast Guard and was assigned to an Antarctic Exploration base. His essay received praise for its wit in depicting the everyday life of a group of men living in close quarters cut off from civilization under extremely frigid conditions.

The setting is in Antarctica at Dome Fuji Station, a Japanese research base, a team of eight men share a 12 month tour of duty. The men's lives are filled with equal measures of hard work, good times, heartache and homesickness. But a young chef's excellent cooking of familiar dishes sustains them during their harsh term of duty.

The film has an amusingly diverse cast of characters who deal with their isolation from home comforts in a variety of ways. The director derives most of the interest from the everyday behavior and the intrinsic nature of his characters as expressed by their idiosyncracies of dress, hair styles and personalities.

The minimalist landscape of white ice and blue sky is a sharp contrast to some charming exterior scenes with the men in their brightly coloured, thickly padded snow suits. Of course, we have to mention that the meals which the chef prepares which are shown with the use of vertical overheads visuals would certainly make you very very hungry for his delicious culinary creations.

The Chef Of The South Pole is a gently quirky film that will delight most people with its light-hearted take on the human comedy. It is a tasty blend of daily observation amidst elegantly simple aesthetics.

Despite the slow pacing of the film I would highly recommend it! Just be sure you don't have an empty stomach as you will get very hungry from the mouth watering dishes served by chef Nishimura!

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