LE GRAND CHEF 2: KIMCHI BATTLE (Baek Dong-hun)
Few films can make me cry. If your film could, indeed make me cry, it's my barometer for hailing not necessarily a great film, but rather a film worth the time.
KIMCHI BATTLE, as the title suggests has food as its background, and like a lot of films centered on food, there are intense moments of cooking, and this is probably the best time to point out that when doing a film with food elements, you better make damn sure your cinematography is captivating; in other words, me as a viewer should better be salivating at the way the foods are visually presented.
KIMCHI BATTLE doesn't disappoint on the visual aspect, but what makes it an important film is the quality of its writing- you have the classic sibling rivalry which not only fleshed out the issues in their fragmented family, but also mirrored the Korean national identity through the use of food as a literary device. The film's ultimate idea, is love for one's mother, or motherland in a greater sense. The Kimchi battle paved the way for competitors Jang-eun (Kim Jung-Eun) and Sung-Chan (Jin Goo) to reconcile with their mothers, which in the process highlights the pride and tribute to Korea as their motherland, since the premise of the film is to prove that Kimchi is indeed, signature Korean dish.
On a sidenote, the little vignette about the mother and her son who is wanted by the law moved me into tears. And on another sidenote, said scene brings to mind Bong Joon-ho's MOTHER.
In fact, I did cry on several occasion during this singular viewing of the film, mostly during the third act. I liked how the characters were well-developed, the conflicts well-established, and how the unwavering tribute to mothers everywhere was underscored. You might want to hug your mothers after this movie.