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  • לוטן דיקר

Movie Review: Mestari Cheng, Directed by: Mika Kaurismäki, 2019

Recently, quality films have been released from around the world and landed in Israel. This time from far away Finland, comes a modest gem in the form of a cultural encounter between a Chinese chef and a small village in Lapland. This is a wonderful chef, who knows and knows intimately the art of cooking. The film is full of amazing tastes, smells, and techniques of preparing wonderful food.

It's a shame that Master Chef Cheng is too modest a film, it is almost completely unpretentious. It has no philosophical depth, profound statements or even anything that we haven't seen in other films. He is full of compassion and beauty, but he is very, very limited by his limitations. He is very honest with the viewers, without cynicism or condescension towards the characters.

In the 21st century, food and chefs are cultural stars, they are leaders of public opinion. The film abandoned the deep cultural contexts it could have talked about and left somewhat hollow and even cartoonish statements and characters. Only the main character of the chef, full of depth and vulnerability but she is not enough to hold an entire film on her shoulders.

It's a beautiful work, and the spectacular food and landscape shots cannot be ignored. Those looking for a deeper, or exciting film will have to wait for the next works that deal with culture and food.


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