Ja­panese food film, Ken’s makeover, how to han­dle a po­lit­i­cal purge, meals with deals.

Sit down and lose your­self in two Ja­panese doc­u­men­taries.

Esquire (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS -

With the slow food move­ment comes the slow food film. This might be its acme. Tora-san of Goto (五島のトラさん / Goto no Tora-san) is a 114-min doc­u­men­tary di­rected by Masaru Oura and filmed over a re­mark­able 22 years. It fol­lows the Inuzuka clan who live in the typ­i­cally tidy and still bu­colic Goto Is­lands of Na­gasaki. Tora-san runs the udon-mak­ing busi­ness with his wife and their seven sproglets, ages two to 17. And they do run it to­gether: Tora awakes at 2am, then the kids, in shifts, from 4am on­wards, dili­gently work­ing the dough that peo­ple eat. Like the pro­tected French boulanger, maître d’ and other roles that have no words in English, Tora-san just gets on with it. Non-ja­panese view­ers would prob­a­bly find the film quaint in its ap­peal, and it is, un­til the hyp­notic rhythm of trans­ports you deeper, into the dif­fer­ent lay­ers of life. Tsuk­iji Won­der­land (築地ワンダーラン/ Tsuk­iji Wan­darando) is the os­ten­si­bly more glam­orous coun­ter­part of Tora-san. The world’s largest fish mar­ket is some­thing of a cause célèbre. It’s 80 years old, but has ar­guably come into promi­nence with food be­ing the new mo­bile porn. The mar­ket’s 600 whole­salers will be mov­ing to a new USD3.5 bil­lion fa­cil­ity and the cur­rent site re­de­vel­oped as a “food won­der­land” theme park. Tsuk­iji Won­der­land was filmed as word of the mar­ket’s re­lo­ca­tion was gath­er­ing a head of steam. Fea­tur­ing in­ter­views with star chefs Jiro Ono and René Redzepi.

Clock­wise from top A scene from Tora-san of Goto (2016); scenes from Tsuk­iji Won­der­land (2016).

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