Films: Food and the Maiden

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  • Monday, November 07, 2:30 PM
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  • Saturday, November 12, 3:00 PM
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Food and the Maiden  {Meshi to otome}

Food and the Maiden
Meshi to otome

Japan, 2010, 75 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Asian, Drama, Japan, Romance
Programs: Contemporary World Cinema, Focus on Japanese Cinema, Art, & Culture, Reel Social Club
Language: Japanese English Subtitles

DIRECTOR: Minoru Kurimura
Producer: Minoru Kurimura, Isao Kodaka
Screenwriter: Minoru Kurimura
Cinematographer: Akihiko Nihommatsu
Principal Cast: Mayu Sakuma, Rie Tanaka, Takae Okamura, Satoshi Kamimura, Kentaro Kishi, Toru Kikuchi

From first-time Japanese writer-director Minoru Kurimura comes Food and the Maiden—at once a haunting and charming exploration of the neuroses surrounding nourishment. The drama begins and ends with quotations from Buddha, invoking the powerful force that food and eating have in Japanese culture and the world over—both as a cause of suffering and a path to enlightenment.

Office drone Hisao (Toru Kikuchi) is afraid his adolescent daughter and plump wife will eat him out of house and home, so he skips most of his meals—including lunch, which he feigns eating in front of his coworker, Mie (Rie Tanaka). Mie, a bulimic, has her own troubles, among them a freeloading live-in boyfriend (Kentaro Kishi); instead of confronting him, she compulsively eats anything in her path. The third of three interweaving plots follows Kujo (Satoshi Kamimura), who is falling for a chef (Mayu Sakuma) determined to please him with her culinary skills. The problem is, Kujo won’t, or can’t, eat food that he doesn’t cook himself. Clearly, these mealtime troubles have as much to do with relationships as with food itself.

As the tension grows, the potentically tragic nature of these characters’ plights is enhanced with timely bursts of Franz Schubert’s dark, eerie “Death and the Maiden,” while the camera zooms in for appetizing, artistic, and at times alarming close-ups of food, putting painful perspective on the emotional struggles to be faced on every plate.

Sponsored by Asian Art Coordinating Council, Consulate General of Japan at Denver, The Japan Foundation, University of Colorado—Denver's College of Arts & Media

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