05-15 November 2020

Festivals & Events


October 24, 2019

HIFF39 MIXED PLATE section highlights foodie films from around the world

Kanani Lyons writes on this year’s MIXED PLATE program where five films focus on foods from different areas of the world, leaving audiences hungry, perhaps a little pensive, but ultimately satisfied.

Chef Jiho Im walks through the Korean peninsula, in search of inspiration and to inspire others in THE WANDERING CHEF. 

Hawai'i's interesting and unique history has brought people from all over the world to its shores. And when different people come together around the table, they are bound to share their culinary cultures with each other, blending them together in unique and delicious ways. We hope to capture this spirit of feast, fun, and kinship through these cinematic servings. 

This year’s MIXED PLATE specifically highlights films about cultivation, the food industry, and the culinary arts. Though these stories center around the production of food, it also focuses on relationships, spirituality, and humanity. We hope you consider these distinct films that shine a light into social, political, and relationship stories. If these endearing films don’t make your stomach grumble, it will make your heart flutter. 

BENTO HARASSMENT: In this coming-of-age drama, Kaori remains positive despite dealing with both the recent death of her husband and her rebellious young teenage daughter, Futaba. To counter her daughter’s unwavering negative attitude, Kaori makes chara-ben (character bento) for Futaba’s lunch every day. Gaining unwanted attention from her classmates due to the over-the-top homemade lunch, Futaba slowly begins to reform her attitude. 

NOTHING FANCY: DIANA KENNEDY: A feisty 96-year-old British chef devoted her life to authentic Mexican food. Her eccentric personality, strict rules, and specific policies on cooking remains the central force that drives this documentary film about the importance of the simple things that make one content in life. 

WHEN TOMATOES MET WAGNER: With just 33 inhabitants, a Greek farming village works to tackle the world market with organic tomatoes that are cultivated by a motivated enterprising farmer named Christos, his neighbor Alexandros, and a group of elderly women. The hilarious and uplifting story documents the aftermath of an economic crisis that sparks a group of villagers to utilize hand-picked heirloom tomatoes as a means of surviving in their little town. 

KAMPAI! SAKE SISTERS: Despite being an industry that first forbade women from sake breweries, today women dominate the sake industry in Japan. This touching documentary intoxicates the audience with an inspiring story of three pioneering women who storm the male-dominated industry as the “sake sisters.”

THE WANDERING CHEF: Globally celebrated for traveling across the Korean peninsula, foraging for unique ingredients, Jiho Im documents his unique livelihood, career, and interactions with the many faces he encounters in this documentary. Directed by Hye-Ryoung Park, this poignant film about food, ritual, and memory pays homage to Mother Nature through the perspective of one man’s culinary journey. 

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