Caught a screening of Ramen Shop at IFC Center. Calling a movie “Ozu-esque” has become a film criticism cliche at this point, but the label undeniably applies to this understated, food-fueled family drama. Following the sudden death of his father—the proprietor of a popular ramen restaurant in Japan—an aspiring chef embarks on a culinary tour of his mother’s native Singapore in order to rediscover his roots. Of course, the volatile history between his parents’ home countries makes it difficult for the half-breed outsider to find acceptance among his foreign relatives; fortunately, cuisine is a universal language, allowing people from disparate cultures to reconnect, reconcile, and even fall in love. Stylistically spare but emotionally rich, Ramen Shop is a beautiful celebration of mankind’s capacity to grow and change—to find common ground and set aside such superficial differences as race, color, and creed.
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