Somewhere deep in the heart of East London lies Oval Space, a somewhat unique arts venue onlooking gas holders. They host a regular Cinema Club and we popped down to the latest edition, featuring the tremendously acclaimed documentary, 'Jiro Dreams Of Sushi'. The night didn't disappoint.
Opting for an appropriately oriental theme, the bar served drinks like sake and Asahi lager, alongside food include pork teriyaki "dogs" - which confused a lady at the bar, who thought they were actually serving puppies. Which would have been a pretty interesting move, although perhaps not in terms of commercial success.
Before the film began, we saw a trailer for the next Oval Space Cinema Club screening - the bizarre 'Fuck For Forest', based on the real-life charity that uses sex videos as a tool to raise money for environmental causes. Our feature was somewhat different. Thankfully. 'Jiro Dreams Of Sushi' is currently rated at 99% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and even for someone who doesn't care much for sushi, this acclaim is well deserved.
The beautifully shot documentary focusses on the story of Jiro, an 85 year old Japanese man, often considered to be the greatest sushi chef in the world. His restaurant has been awarded the hallowed three Michelin stars, and quite incredibly seats just ten people. The heart of 'Jiro Dreams Of Sushi' is Jiro's relationships with his sons, one of whom is waiting in the wings to take over and the other who was effectively forced to open his own restaurant.
The work ethic of all involved in this sushi culture is admirable but Jiro's dedication is awe-inspiring. Director David Gelb frequently and appropriately compares the art of sushi cooking to orchestral music, and Jiro certainly acts as the conductor for those around him. Gelb employs a hefty amount of Philip Glass, and his ostinatoes are most welcome, alongside the likes of Mozart and Tchaikovsky.
While Jiro promotes the highest of standards, brought upon him thanks to his own harsh upbringing, there are plenty of moments of humour in the documentary to soften the scene. Consequently, 'Jiro Dreams Of Sushi' makes for a touching exploration into the world of sushi.
A great choice by the Cinema Club team, and a lovely evening. However, hopefully next time, the film will start a tad closer to its advertised time and not be subject to the continuous soft crackling of popcorn in the background - minor complaints perhaps but ones that Jiro would likely have shared.
Find more info about the Oval Space cinema club at ovalspace.co.uk/cinemaclub. 'Jiro Dreams Of Sushi' is available to purchase on DVD from amazon.co.uk.