During the Edo Period of Japan, an excellent cook marries the heir to a renowned cooking family. However, her husband is a terrible chef. With the help of her new mother-in-law, she begins to teach him the ways of the culinary arts.
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Lok Man Leung,
Tony Ka Fai Leung,
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Set within the Kaga Domain in the Edo Period. Oharu is an excellent cook and recognized for her skills. Due to her cooking talents, she marries Yasunobu, who is an heir in the Funaki family. The Funaki family serves as the cook for the Kaga Domain. Nevertheless, Yasunobu himself is a terrible cook. With the help of Oharu's mother-in-law Mitsuru, she begins to teach Yasunobu how to cook.Written by
I'm a blood-and-thunder action fan myself, so A TALE OF SAMURAI COOKING wasn't exactly my ideal film; however, I'm occasionally surprised by art-house cinema in general, so I decided to give this slow-burning drama a chance. Plus it has the word 'samurai' in the title, which is promising.
Unfortunately, it turns out to be a largely dull film, a movie whose subtleties are wasted on the international viewer. The story is ostensibly about a young wife teaching her husband the delicate arts of cookery, but in reality it's more about gender politics in Edo era Japan. Scenes of cooking and feasting are actually few and far between and while samurai action is hinted at, it never goes all-out.
So what's this film about then? Well, not a lot, as it happens. It certainly looks fantastic, with close attention to period detail, and the performances are as subtle and realistic as you could wish for. But everything that happens in it feels so slight, so restrained, that I ended up getting bored by the whole thing. When I watch a film, I want to be involved in high stakes drama and tension; I want to be taken out of the humdrum of everyday life to experience human existence at its most dramatic or involving. I didn't get that from A TALE OF SAMURAI COOKING; it didn't even teach me anything new about the human condition.
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