[Victoria Film Festival 2020] Sovereign Soil, A Preview

Screening at the Victoria Film Festival with the director in attendance.

Feb 13 at 5:30 p.m.
The Vic Theatre
808 Douglas St,

Feb 15 at 12:15 p.m.
SilverCity Cinema #3,
3130 Tillicum Rd

If there’s one thing viewers can learn about Sovereign Soil, I firmly believe it’s in the pioneering spirit of those attempting to harvest where agriculture does not come easy. The area around the tiny sub-Arctic town of Dawson City, Yukon is not exactly the easiest land to work in. Some claim it is very rich in nutrients to grow crops in, but to toil hard to find those spots require more than using divining rods and laying a claim. Thankfully, the weather around here is not always cold year-round.

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Come Aboard for Feast! Food+Film June 13-15, 2019

FEAST-Logo-design-website-4-02Feast Food+Film is the Victoria Film Festival‘s love letter to all things culinary and it will be spotlighting the best treats that the Capital Region can offer. This event runs June 13-15, 2019 and the movies featured has Ed endorsing the search for Shangri-La with Himalayan Gold Rush. There’s a reason: variations of this fungus is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Does it work? Ed says some of it does, if you can stomach the taste. A lot of manufactured medications work the same way as those harvested in the wilds. The only difference is in purity and concentration, and the belief that it does the body good than the gross out factor of, say, consuming bugs.

The film line-up features five documentaries and one feature film that explores the flavours, stories, and people behind a particular cuisine. The line-up and menus include:

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Ramen Teh, A Movie Review

After seeing the movie Ramen Teh during the 2019 Victoria Film Festival, I left the theatre with a craving for bak kut teh (Meat Bone Tea). This film suggests the broth in this dish and ramen are similar, though, with the former, more herbs are used. It soothes the soul, and as this film suggests perhaps also help mend fences.

With this movie, it not only offers a lesson in the origins of this noodle dish but also explores the foodie scene in Singapore. The story looks at how Masato (Takumi Saito) seeks to reconnect with a part of the family he’s almost forgotten. When his Japanese father Kazuo (Tsuyoshi Ihara) passes away, he cannot quite continue to run the family ramen shop soon. There are bitter memories, mostly in how distant otōsan has become over the years. No reason is given right away, but it’s quickly revealed he’s never recovered from the loss of his beautiful wife, Mei Lian (Beatrice Chien). Since that departure, he’s become emotionally distant and a complete workaholic.

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Ramen Teh to Play at the Victoria Film Festival

Playing at the
Victoria Film Festival
Victoria, British Columbia

Feb 1 to 10th

Tue | Feb 5 | 9:00 PM | SilverCity #3
Thur | Feb 7 | 6:15 PM | SilverCity #3

Back in 2011, I saw Chef of the South Polar (review link) at the Victoria Film Festival (VFF), and I learned a good noodle consists of a lot more than the love put into kneading the dough and creating the strands. Kansui is one part sodium bicarbonate and many other parts other trace minerals. To put them together in perfect harmony is part of many an Asian culture.

This year marks this event’s 25th anniversary (Taking place from Feb 1 to 10) and Ramen Shop (Ramen Teh) will continue to teach me something new in terms of how to celebrate life and food. Life lessons are often part of the theme in these movies, and I’m looking forward to what this year’s crop of films will offer.

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All You Can Eat Buddha, A Movie Review

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  • Spoiler Alert

The 2018 Victoria Film Festival is in full swing and every year, there’s at least one foodie themed piece of cinema for me to look at. This year’s offering is a very curiously named, All You Can Eat, Buddha. Writer / Director Ian Lagarde makes his feature-length debut with this work. According to actor Silvio Arriola who plays Valentino, the manager of the Cuban resort El Palacio — this story was conceived when this filmmaker was vacationing in Mexico, observing life around the resort he was at and having a particular Vedic text on hand to read.

The significance of what food represents to Mike (played to great stoic effect by Ludovic Berthillot) is not what this film is about. This protagonist is often juxtaposed to the backdrop of the sea, giving him a godlike presence, and suggesting he is on a spiritual retreat. The few picturesque moments of exquisite buffets are used to a lesser effect. To understand what both mean requires a second and third helping — a viewing, that is.

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[VFF’17] Theatre of Life Gives Hope to the Less Fortunate

theatre-of-life_pub207-5x7_5_7220dpi20accPlays Feb 10, 6:15pm
at Silvercity Tillicum

Feb 11, 6:30pm
at The Vic Theatre
Victoria, BC

Feeding the planet and the less fortunate anywhere is potentially difficult. To explore this situation is the documentary Theatre of Life, which is playing during this year’s Victoria Film Festival. This movie shows the task in a small-scale is doable, but it takes a concentrated effort to make it work and a continued commitment to make a difference. Chef Massimo Bottura deserves praise for taking the surplus and expired food meant for the 2015 Milan Expo’s many concession and diner operations and prepare simple original meals at the Refettorio Ambrosiano. This food kitchen still operates, and it does more than to feed the lower-class; it gives them a sense of community.

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