As a foodie film Patisserie Coin de rue will never rival Babette’s Feast, not least because the main character is an annoyingly petulant teenager, but it’s a feast for the eyes nevertheless. The film is centred on a patisserie in a Tokyo suburb, which specialises in making lovely cakes and pastries. It’s a Japanese film, made for a Japanese audience, although it will be seen in the west after winning the “Best East Meets West” prize at the Santa Barbara Film Festival earlier this year. The film is completely absorbing because of the glimpse which it gives into the way the Japanese treat food as art. It’s about creating food which looks beautiful and tastes exquisite. They won’t accept any compromise; they are entirely devoted to perfection.The art which they are practising may have its origins in France but it’s raised to a completely different level in Japan.
There’s one thing which will strike any westerner watching this film as odd- the fact that although everyone in it spends their life making and tasting pastries, not a single person carries an ounce of surplus fat. Very Japanese.