Food in Chinese Cinema | New Year Special

Food in Chinese Cinema | New Year Special

Happy Chinese New Year Let’s talk about food Yes, food is how Chinese people celebrate To Chinese people, food is never just food Food is an integral part of our culture It can be funny Or romantic Or sexy Or scientific Or even dangerous Today we will take a look at examples of food in Chinese cinema See beyond the appearance and talk about the philosophy and meanings behind So, let’s dig in Our first dish of the day will be wonton From Wong Kar-wai’s seminal film In the Mood for Love Set in 1960 song Kong The film tells the story of two neighbors Mrs. Chan and Mr. Chow Whom their spouses are cheating on them with each Chow and Chan find solace by befriending each other Amid gossips and moral judgments In the film, we repeatedly see Mrs. Chan going out for wonton noodles It hints at the constant absence of her husband He’s not home, so she’s not cooking On her journey, she often passes by mr. Chow Who is out dining alone for the same reason In here, wonton serves as a replacement for love and comfort It’s a comfort food that fulfills the desire to be with their spouses And enjoy the dinner like a family A food to stop hunger and loneliness It is at their emotionally most vulnerable These two cross paths At the beginning of their friendship They hang out in Western diners Where they can each have their own dishes Proper space is maintained Very deliberately But as their intimacy crosses the line The food of choice reverts back to wonton noodles Only this time, they are sharing Through food we see how these to go from strictly platonic To extramarital romance In this one-shot we see that they are sharing comfort with each other Effectively replacing the absentee spouses with each other food is much more than just food Our second dish is barbecue pork rice from Stephen Chow’s comedy classic God of Cookery In the film, Chow plays a famous cook and food critic nicknamed the God of Cookery High and mighty, he finds flaws in any and all food And he finds flaws in any and all human It’s only when his business partners all betrayed him When he lost everything When he has to sleep on the street That he finds the most delicious food ever a humble bowl of barbecue pork rice Offered to him for free In real life, Stephen Chow is of grassroot origins He spent over a decade working as extras and minor characters To him barbecue pork rice probably have a very special meaning As is typically the lunch for working-class people But then in the 90s he got a starring role on TV And he practically became an overnight sensation In just a few short years He became the undisputed king of comedy in Hong Kong Perhaps at that moment, there was this human connection he felt was lost to him In the world of the rich, everyone is all business In the world of the rich, food looks glamorous But tastes terrible It just so happened that Chow’s life mirrors that of Hong Kong Starting from the 70s, Hong Kong saw a massive economic upturn By the 90s, Hong Kong has cemented his status As the financial center of East Asia Everyone’s topic of discussion was money Everyone in Hong Kong wanted to ride the wave and be rich Human relations was replaced with cold hard cash But barbecue pork rice is fulfilling, is
comforting It reminds people of the days Where money can be earned by hard work It’s filled with longing and nostalgia for the simpler time It connects Chow with his grassroot friends A pure connection not tainted by money or power Where people are free to be Where gestures of goodwill had no
ulterior motives When his character returns to a cooking competition to right his wrong His opponent prepared a dish called “Buddha jumping wall” It’s said to contain so many rare and expensive ingredients Even nearby monks have to jump over the wall to take a look An expensive treat for the upper class And Chow’s character, having learned his lesson Prepare his own food The best dish he has ever had A working-class meal Our final dish of the day is egg fried rice From the film The Story of David The Story of David is, in short, the Chinese Forrest Gump In the film, David is a slow-witted cook Whose great-grandfather was rumored to be an imperial chef Going through life, David only once two things To get together with the love of his life And to have his own place Where he can cook his egg fried rice The simplest dish in Chinese cuisine despite times are changing drastically He lives by his father’s advice Things has to be done slowly In a deliberate social commentary on current Chinese trend Everybody around David is desperate for
success Some lose their lives in the chase Others choose to betray David Hoping to reach a shortcut to fame and wealth But David’s single-minded devotion Eventually earns him everything he wishes for When those who betray him lives a life of
success They are also living in fear and struggle Their lifetime of dirty deeds haunts them And just when they are falling from the top David finally reaches the top It took David 30 years But he was able to recreate the imperial egg fried rice From his family’s legend Every grain of rice is separated Evenly coated by a layer of egg Like David, egg fried rice is simple To many, it lacks the glamour people desired But Chinese people believe, it is the simplest thing in life That is the most difficult It’s a family legacy It’s David’s faith It represents happiness Something that has to be earned And has to be earned slowly One step at a time To Chinese people, food is never just food It means much much more It can be the way people fall in love It is seen as important as sex To a point, where you can manipulate people’s behavior But my favorite portrayal of food is in Ang-Lee’s Eat Drink Man Woman In the film, the elderly father has been cooking for his three daughters As a way of family bonding As his daughter’s grow up And begin to leave the family behind The old father finds it harder adjust But one daughter decides to stay behind And maintains the family tradition So she prepares the dinner for him The joy of this old grumpy father experiences When he gets to taste the food she made… is nothing short of breathtaking Food in Chinese culture is much more than just food

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  1. I loved god of cookery n i love your analysis n dont want to complain but its called "sorrowful rice"…and the philosophy about fried rice where the simplest become the the hardest to learn is almost like kung fu movies you need times to learn the basic…and like bruce lee said fear a man who practice 1 moves a thousand times…love your channel man

  2. Dang, I almost teared at that dinner table last scene. As an Asian in Asia, it really means so much to us.

  3. ahh men love Stephen chow, I respect him even more knowing he was struggling from the very bottom. Story of david sounds great thanks for sharing (nice reference though david vs goliath)

  4. Just binged all of your videos. They're special and you are special my friend. Please be well and keep making these videos.

  5. This was so lovely. The father daughter scene even made me tear up a little. I'm really enjoying learning about Chinese cinema.

  6. God of Cookery is a comedic classic I watched when I was very young, and it still remains a classic. Never did I think the movie has such a deep meaning. Your interpretation is spot on. I'm privileged to try some of the best fine dining, but nothing compares to something down to earth like char siew rice – it speaks to my heart.

  7. One of the best videos I've seen in a long time. Also, now I crave some comfort food with a special person.

  8. I found this channel a week ago and this is the 2nd video to pop up in my recommended.
    You've made me ridiculously interested in chinese films. Especially the Story of David. These videos are really fun to listen to and draw me in. Much love.

  9. Absolutely loving your videos. Think you could start adding a list of video clips in the description? I have a lot of movies to catch up on!

  10. Mate, I thougthI knew plenty about contemporary Chinese cinema until you brought up "Story of David" Dont stop doing the essays. Going to have to track it down. Don't stop working buddy…thats all I can say.

  11. You forgot to mention food in horror-psychopathic scope. I think this was shown in 90s movie Bunman Untold story, by anthony wong who uses human flesh as his main ingredient in his famous made Baozi. It's creepy because people loves to eat his baozi without knowing it was made with fresh human flesh which he murdered just to make that dumpling feast.

  12. You forgot to mention food in horror-psychopathic scope. I think this was shown in 90s movie Bunman Untold story, by anthony wong who uses human flesh as his main ingredient in his famous made Baozi. It's creepy because people loves to eat his baozi without knowing it was made with fresh human flesh which he murdered just to make that dumpling feast.

  13. To think that the first dish presented in Cooking Master Boy is the humble egg fried rice, and yet it earned the Imperial Chef's respect. Mao also started from something simple before he made his way to the top of the Chinese cuisine hierarchy.

    Now watching that series would never be the same again.

  14. I'm in love with your work on this channel, but I really hate the way you spoil movies plot when make commentaries :'(
    I know it's tricky but I hope you can find a way to avoid spoiling movies

  15. As a lonely man in his late 20s, I find this video is very touching.

    I mean, I know I will never find love, so I'm perfecting my cooking skills in order to live alone in the future. And Asian cuisines always inspired me.

    And from this video, I have this urge to make that perfect egg-fried rice.

  16. You really speak what im trying to show what people nowadays take it for granted. Food is not just some kind of stuff we can eat and go. We have to appreciate everything inside the vibe the arts and finally the taste. No competition no fighting just pure joy of making a one nice plate of fried rice.

  17. Just talked with a Chinese coworker of mine. She didn't recognize Stephen's English name but immediately recognized his picture and was surprised he's well-known here in America.

  18. Hong Kong family soup is the most special thing. It gathers the distant sons or daughters in their mother's house.

  19. I love your video essays, they're really unique and give great perspective and insight. You described The God of Cookery dish in the best way possibly I'd say. It's right on the mark.

  20. You attention to detail and culture is much need. I’m proud of the work on this channel. Though I am not Chinese, my culture has a similar significance for food. Food and meals are a family event.

  21. You know, I've identified with this video and I'm not related to China in any way shape or form. I've had to learn how to cook when I was very little for my family, we were in three brothers and I didn't quite liked it at the times because we were pretty much forced. I got too easily distracted by playing PC games and burned rice many, many times. But when I put my mind to it, I was and am very talented (not professionally talented, but like that good cook uncle you might have). It's hard for me to go to simple restaurants simply because in my country food is mostly just food and people don't pay that close attention to the details, making food tastes bland. My gf can cook, but she's just not dedicated as I am and I was always offended when she cooked badly because I couldn't understand why I was feeling that way.

    In a weird way, after watching this video, I realize that I felt that way because food wasn't just food. I learned to cook so well because I love her, and cooking for her is me showing my gratitude to her, or gratitude to people in general, which is why I also dislike cooking for people I dislike or I feel don't appreciate or demonstrate appreciation to my effort. So, yeah, food isn't just food for me too.

    Thank you for this video.

  22. I love your content man.
    Can you do:
    Drugs(Marijuana) in Chinese Cinema?
    Genuinely interested, thank you very much.

  23. Thank you for your content, it has really great quality and it's quite rare to find a good channel that focus on Asian Cinema. I really love Asian Food Film genre as it has great philosophy, would love to see more food film genre from my own country

  24. I have seen these Vacuum Flasks used to contain hot food with their soups in other films. Do they have a special name? Because I have a hard time finding them on the internet. If they do, what is it?

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