The Chef of South Polar | Nankyoku ryōrinin
directed by Okita Shūichi | 2009 | 125 min
The Chef of South Polar is another movie that endorses the fact that mere reality can sometimes transcend all the demands of wit, effects, and suspension in the film industry. The film is based on essays penned by a marine chef NISHIMURA Jun, who was sent to a mission on South Polar – in reality even twice. Every day, for a year and a half, a group of 8 men representing various specializations does its best to fulfil research as well as practical duties at the polar base, which lies at the same elevation as Mount Fuji and where the average temperature is -54°C. In such extreme conditions the cook plays the role closed to a tribal medicine man - he has the power to heal or knock down a huge man by a single motion of his magic chopsticks. If the cuisine represents an essential component of Japanese identity, than the atmosphere of the South Polar base is even more Japan-like than in Japan. The film does not only feature fireworks of culinary imagination but it also with certain humorous exaggeration probes, what the attitude to food reveals about man's personality.