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aka - Shiawase no Kaori
Japan 2008
Directed by
Mitsuhiro Mihara
125 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Flavour Of Happiness

Although writer-director Mihara Mitsuhiro lays on  the sentiment a little too thickly in places Flavour Of Happiness is a worthy addition to the food film category with some of the most detailed presentation of the preparation and cooking process you’re going to see in film.

Wan (Fuji Tatsuya) is the chef-owner of small working man’s restaurant, Little Shanghai, in Kanazawa, Japan. His dishes, which are from his native province Shaoxing in China, are so popular with the locals that a department store send a negotiator, single mother,Takako (Nakatani Miki), to persuade Wan to prepare dishes for their food hall. But when  Wan suffers a stroke, Takako quits her job and offers to be Wan's apprentice. .

Mihara marvellously conveys the pleasures of food whilst neatly realizing the core themes of the food film  - love and personal transformation. In this respect the narrative holds no surprises but the director makes good use of Nakatani’s photogenic (and hence rather unrealistic) features whilst the developing relationship between the old man and the young woman, portrayed with classical Japanese restraint, is finely represented by the two leads.




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