Where are we welcome? On a quiet street in Helsinki, Sachie has opened a diner featuring rice balls. For a month she has no customers. Then, in short order, she has her first customer, ...
See full summary »
Where are we welcome? On a quiet street in Helsinki, Sachie has opened a diner featuring rice balls. For a month she has no customers. Then, in short order, she has her first customer, meets Midori, a gangly Japanese tourist, and invites her to stay with her, and meets Masako, a formal and ethereal middle-aged woman whose luggage has gone missing. The three women work in the diner, interact, and serve customers. A somewhat brusque man teaches Sachie to make delicious coffee, then he returns under other circumstances. Three neighborhood women inspect the empty diner every day; will anything bring them inside? We learn why Sachie serves rice balls; but why Finland?Written by
This is Naoko Ogigami's third feature film, and the first Japanese film to be shot entirely in Finland, land of the midnight sun. As I mentioned in some other postings, cinema allows you to be transported to fantasy worlds, and of course in a more realistic sense, going to countries we have yet to set foot upon.
The movie is set around a Japanese diner in Finland, and its owner, Sachie (Satomi Kobayashi). The story revolves around the diner, as well as the friendships that Sachie develops, with customer and crew. The food, "soul foods" as in the menu, can make anyone salivate and feel hunger pangs, especially when the movie was screened into dinner time.
Pretty nothing much happens in Kamome Diner, except that there are plenty of people flitting in and out of the eatery. It's like watching a television series with episodes strung together, each putting the focus and theme on guest characters of the show, how they interact with the established leads. We are introduced to Sachie's first customer, a Finnish teenager who enjoys Japanese anime, and from there, one thing leads to another, as Sachie meets up with Midori (Hairi Katagiri), also another Japanese who left Japan to seek her fortunes in a strange land.
The customers in the diner is set up in the story such that it's directly proportionate to the friendships established by Sachie. It's like a vicious circle being broken, with the seizing of opportunities and the chance of befriending a customer, comes the breaking down of hesitation that others have about something that is new, something less seen, something different. And as it grows, so too does the number of friendships being formed, nurtured and developed, akin to the care put into the creation of recipes and the cooking of food.
By the end of it, everyone had undergone changes in their lives for the better, through subtle interactions, lessons learnt, and all these in a rather mundane manner of living life, in normal day to day activities.
The cast is a mix of Japanese and Finnish, and the dialogue too a mix of languages. But given its themes of friendship, belief, keeping the faith and being positive just about everything, it's ultimately a feel good movie, with plenty of subtleties, a dash of humour, and generous servings of well intentions.
31 of 39 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this