Food Films at HIFF

This year's HIFF food movie lineup is particularly documentary heavy. A reflection of these times, the movies focus on preserving culture and the ailings of our current food system. Food porn, it seems, has given way to social commentary. And just like real porn, sometimes it all just feels like a little too much.

Kalo Culture features poi pounder Daniel Anthony of Mana Ai who suddenly made poi, formerly known as wallpaper paste, sexy; and Reviving Recipes is a Japanese documentary about revitalizing heirloom crops in the Yamagata Prefecture. Big Boys Gone Bananas!* documents legal battles between Dole and Swedish filmmaker Fredrik Gertten over his previous movie on Nicaraguan workers' legal fight against Dole.

Raw and the Cooked also sounds the alarm against urbanization, but also explores Taiwanese dishes and food culture through mouthwatering cinematography.

Taiwanese food (or baked goods, mainly) also plays a role in the fictional movie The Soul of Bread, in which love and drama (what else?) unfold in a bakery.

Need an antidote to all the seriousness? Then consider Dead Sushi, so utterly ridiculous it may be hilarious. A serum awakens the "murderous instincts of fish on rice…Bloodthirsty tuna and squid soon descend upon the humans, killing many and turning the remainder into zombie-like creatures," from the synopsis. But maybe even this movie is sending a message: our seafood's retaliation against imminent extinction?

Hawaii International Film Festival, October 11-21, tickets go on sale 9/28,