Drama, Films, Japan, Recommended posts, Reviews

Noriben – The Recipe of Fortune

Director Akira Ogata shows the strength of straightforward narrative…

Komaki Nagai (Manami Konishi), a naïve woman in her 30s, divorces her useless husband, a jobless person who hopes to be a writer. She moves back to her hometown, Kyojima, Tokyo, along with her young daughter, Noriko. She faces difficulty as an independent woman, from finding a job to financially supporting her daughter’s education, in the tough Japan’s job market. One day, after tasting the cook’s dish, she decides to open up her own bento shop.

The overall storyline is straightforward with simple dialogues. It addresses how some women in their 30s try to fit in with the job market and people in the community. Komaki Nagai goes her way through easy shortcuts instead of being in hardship. Her childish, stubborn and naïve personality is annoying but enables the audience to follow her story till the very end, with the mention of having responsibility and rough hands. Manami portrays the character with balance between shifting personalities and impactful message about being a happy and independent woman.

Food is one of the aspects that grabs my attention. Director Akira Ogata puts a lot of focus on how food makes people smile. He uses camera focus on the food, bringing out explanations on how Komaki made the delicious bentos for her daughter via animation and having the camera follow how Komaki’s journey in making bentos for people with love and hardship. It gives a clear message that we have to appreciate the food that was made with tender, love and care.

What I like about Noriben is that the basic cinematography is fully utilized during the time period when the advanced technology came into the filmmaking industry. The camera guides the audiences in the characters’ journeys with in-depth focus on their dialogues and actions. It proves there can be enough to be entertained with simple, bright and meaningful plots with basic camera works that’s don’t use 3D technology or CG.

Noriben brings out its own characters, specifically Komaki, and straightforward storyline with the basics. It is one of the good examples of what makes a great film with average budget on film production and no advanced technology. I recommend you to watch this as you discover that the basics of filmmaking come first in bringing out simple and warm-hearted storyline that everyone can enjoy watching it, especially the love for food.

Noriben – The Recipe of Fortune will play across UK as part of the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme, starting February 7th at the ICA in London.

About the author

Wai Lu Yin
Currently working on handling social media platforms. Also a passionate Korean culture journalist. Started to have interest in Korean culture, including films, since university and then become more passionate about Asian films. Craving for knowledge and experience from music to travel.
Read all posts by Wai Lu Yin

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