When I was growing up, my parents would buy a pass to the Hawaii International Film Festival and go crazy, watching about 10 movies in one weekend. These are my simple, local-style parents...who would make me stare open-jawed as they explained the intricacies of (mostly) Asian films. I thought, Who are these people? And since when are they so hip on film culture?
Well, fast forward to 2010. Since I'm a foodie blogger, the Hawaii International Film Festival invited me to check out some of their food-centric films. I was intrigued. I'm not yet my parents, so you won't find me watching 20 hours of movies in a span of 48 hours...yet. But I decided to check out a few of them.
I'm glad I got to see Cafe Seoul first. Have you heard about this film? I had not, and didn't read up on it before I went to see it. It's about a about a small confectionary/dessert shop in Seoul called "Peony Hall," run by the eldest of three brothers.
The brothers have been living separate lives since their parents were killed in a car accident. When the shop is in danger due to the owner being harrassed by local gangsters, the brothers pull together and reconnect as a family (sort of). Throughout most of the film, you see only the oldest two of the three brothers, and it's never made clear why they are estranged.
An element in this film that made me connect to it was the Japanese character who is a dessert journalist. On a whim, he goes to Seoul, gets an assignment from his editor to find something interesting, and through a series of coincidences, he ends up at "Peony Hall." He falls in love with the quaintness of the place and their delicious mochi.
Above, the two brothers share memories of their parents' confections. To the right is Mrs. Yang, an old-time customer who claims her spot in the corner, and the journalist. Aside from the drama and the mafia, this movie reminded me a lot of the Little Oven story, and I related to both Mrs. Yang and the journalist fighting to save the store.
It was a cute film! Admittedly, not everyone loved it, but most of us did. We were so jazzed when we exited the theater that we all went to Little Oven for dessert, and continued discussion over the movie.
I can't wait to see my next couple of movies, "Chef of the South Polar" and "Today's Special." I hope you get to see some of the movies, too, whether they're food-related or not. My niece went to see "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" and loved it.