I have never understood the obsession people have with New Year’s resolutions…What’s that all about?
If I was one of those people my resolution for a new year would be to do less and rest more, watch as many films as I can, read as many books as I can, and do nothing in between…Perfect.
Although I understand that people feel a bit heavier after Christmas, a bit more depressed. January is a long month, you’ve spent all the money you had (or didn’t have) around holiday season. It’s dark most of the time outside (unless you live in the southern hemisphere). You spent too much time with your family (some of you were asked too many times when you are going to get married, some of you ‘why don’t you have a baby yet’, etc.) So now it’s the time for something totally different.
Do I have just the right treat for you??? I mean, come on, we are talking simplicity, style, taste and an oriental, zen-like approach here.
Firstly two words: Takeshi Kitano.
Absolute genius and master of cinema. My sister and I watched his films obsessively.
Many years ago at one of the film festivals I went to, I had the pleasure of seeing ‘Hana-bi’. It’s left me in awe to this day. It’s a really powerful film, visually and emotionally.
The main character, Nishi (played by Kitano) leaves the police after a terrible accident which left his partner wheelchair-bound. He also needs to take care of his ill wife. The film is very Japanese. Non verbal communication is very important. Nishi doesn’t exchange many words with his wife, but you can feel so many emotions between them, so much love, it makes your chest feel all tight.
There’s also a complete lack of the western type of violence – no 5 minute-long-fights, name calling, sweat and blood before actually killing someone. Oh no. There’s violence, but different – precise and unglamourized, shocking and sudden, very realistic. The scenes of violence are short and well directed, they leave you completely shaken. The rest of the film is beautifully shot with static scenes. As a part of dichotomy there are scenes with Nishi’s partner who starts painting after the accident. His work is gentle and peaceful. Funnily enough, it was painted by Kitano himself after he had an accident.
I don’t want to say too much about the film to spoil it for you, but if you haven’t watched it already, now is the time. I remember a few of my friends didn’t get the gentle humour, and the way it was filmed, but if you love Japanese culture, you will fall in love with this one. And I don’t believe you have to understand Japanese customs, politeness, dichotomy of beauty and ugliness to enjoy it. Just have an open mind.
To pair it with, something simple but oh-so-delicious and gluten free (as it is made of buckwheat)…
1/2 cucumber, diced
2 tbsp black toasted sesame seeds
For the sauce:
bunch of spring onions, chopped
ginger (2 cm) grated
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp coriander, chopped
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp chopped chili
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/2 lime juice
1 tsp miso
1. Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Leave it for 15 minutes for the flavours to develop.
2. Boil soba noodles. Before you drain them, heat your sauce gently in a non-stick pan. Add noodles, sesame seeds and cucumber. Mix well and enjoy!