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Monday, December 08, 2008

Seagull Diner: Movie review

Kamome Shokudo or Seagull Diner

Last week I went to see Kamome Shokudo or Seagull Diner, a quirky little Japanese film about a woman who opens a diner in Finland, and the relationships she has with two other Japanese women and her Finnish customers. The three main characters, single Japanese women who have found themselves in Finland are funny and endearing in their mannerisms. The film isn't a comedy in the strict sense of the word, but there is a lot of humor.

Food plays an important role in the movie. The cool and wary Finns are attracted to the diner when the main character bakes cinnamon buns and in another scene, there are experiments with onigiri or rice balls using local ingredients like reindeer meat. Through various forms of comfort food, the film explores the character of the Finns, love, identity, and friendship. Ultimately it is food that brings everyone together.

I really enjoyed this film. The three main characters are played by wonderful Japanese actresses but the rest of the Finnish cast is terrific as well. It's an offbeat movie with touches of fantasy and unexpected twists and turns. The characters are engaging, the emotions universal and the stories entertaining in this sweet film. If you get a chance to see it, I highly recommend it.

Note: I saw this film at the Movie Museum, a video store with a movie screening room in the Kaimuki neighborhood. It has 23 seats, most of which are barcaloungers. The sound and projection quality are high, and they show films you're not likely to find elsewhere, best of all, tickets are a mere $5. Bring your own popcorn or snacks and call ahead to reserve seats.

Movie Museum
3566 Harding Avenue Suite 4
Honolulu, Hawaii