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Mr. Chow: Preparations

A Hypnotic Short from Norbert Schoerner Celebrates the Relaunch of London's Legendary Canteen to the Stars

“Food and romance go hand in hand, or mouth in mouth,” says lauded German photographer and filmmaker Norbert Schoerner of his latest short, an avant-garde ode to the art of noodle-making at London’s famed Mr. Chow restaurant. “They both release endorphins,” notes the director. “And it’s tough to decide what’s stronger.” The work celebrates the reopening of the Chinese dining institution, on the 45th anniversary of its original launch on Valentine’s Day, 1968. Since then, the home away from home of Beijing cuisine has become a veritable phenomenon, recognized internationally for its authentic hand-pulled noodles, made nightly in front of restaurant guests by experts who have been honing their expertise for decades. Casting model Caroline Ford for scenes shot at the InterContinental London Park Lane Hotel and spliced into footage of Mr. Chow’s noodle maestros, Schoerner taps into an unspoken visual language of desire and culinary craft. According to the lensman—a veteran of the pages of Vogue and The Face who has exhibited internationally, collaborating with Comme des Garçons and Alexander McQueen—images of food “can be cold and off-putting. Or they can be sensual and delectable, enticing the audience to take a closer look and making them want to sample the goods.” Ultimately, though, the shared beauty of eating and intrigue may be in the anticipation of consumption. “Preparation and foreplay are on par,” he notes. “It's the build-up that counts.”

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  • On Replay
    On Replay

    Io Echo: Eye Father

    Benjamin Millepied Directs a Kabuki-Inspired Collaboration with the Dark Pop Duo

    A lone kabuki dancer performs against an urban tableau wearing full kumadori makeup in choreographer Benjamin Millepied's video for the Io Echo track “Eye Father.” Since meeting at a party and bonding over masochism and The Velvet Underground, Washington D.C.-native Ioanna Gika and her London-born partner in crime Leopold Ross have scored films for Harmony Korine, toured with Florence and the Machine and opened for Nine Inch Nails’ last-ever show. In “Eye Father,” Io Echo’s koto harp, hazy guitars and ethereal vocals are visualized in the vivid palette of classical Japanese theater. “Kabuki sets are so beautiful and rich in color, I wanted to find urban spaces with that quality,” explains director Millepied, who shot the film at a number of scenic Hollywood spots, including Los Angeles Harbor and a SoCal supermarket. “It looked like we were in rural China, but we were in this all-American urban landscape.” The cultural mash-up resonates well with Io Echo’s own penchant for mixing musical influences. “We’re interested in the sound and aesthetic of Asian cultures, but we’re not trying to emulate it literally,” Gika explains. “You can listen to our songs and imagine a Far Eastern forest, but ours is infused with purple smoke and twisted willows.” Currently in the finishing stages of Io Echo’s debut album, Gika shares the dreams that inspire the work, and a custom haiku. 

    What was on the stereo when you were growing up?
    Ioanna Gika:
    Enya, Vangelis, chant, classical and new age. 

    Favorite new band?
    IG:
    Haleek Maul, a teenage rapper from Barbados.

    Dreams: black and white or Technicolor? 
    IG: Technicolor. Once the sky was so blue I was terrified.

    Collaboration fantasy?
    IG: Kofi Annan or Philip Glass.

    Favorite Japanese restaurant in LA?
    IG: Sushi Ike––they do a great fresh octopus.

    Write us a haiku?
    IG: Wrote haikus all day
    and apparently I am
    still writing haikus.

    Click here for Io Echo and Benjamin Millepied's second video collaboration, plus a chat with Leopold Ross.

    Vote for your favorite film from this double bill on the NOWNESS Facebook page.  

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  • MOST SHARED IN GASTRONOMY
    MOST SHARED IN GASTRONOMY

    Immortal Venice: Harry’s Bar

    Five Days of Food, Final Part: The Cipriani Legacy Thrives in the Floating City with Cocktails Fit for Hemingway and Capote

    Arrigo Cipriani unravels the rich Venetian history and patronage of his father Guiseppe’s fabled Harry’s Bar, in this short from writer, director and NOWNESS regular Alison Chernick. One of the most celebrated restaurants in the world, and home to some of its driest martinis, the locale has been a favorite among Hollywood celebrities and literary notables since opening in 1931. Today the Ciprianis helm a veritable empire of clubs and restaurants across the globe, and the family's original venue was declared a national landmark by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Affairs in 2001. Yet Harry's Bar may be most widely known as the birthplace of two culinary treasures: beef Carpaccio, and the Bellini cocktail, both named after 15th century Italian painters. Shot one afternoon during the Venice Film Festival last September, Cipriani recalled the many eating—and drinking—habits of luminaires such as Orson Welles, Truman Capote and Ernest Hemingway, whose 1948 novel Across The River and Into The Trees contains scenes set in the famed watering hole. Despite the establishment's lofty international appeal, the “Senator’s Table” is always reserved for long-time local patrons, recalling the heyday of European cafe society. “You feel as if you are a special guest in your own home,” says Chernick of the bar’s classic atmosphere. “The history just seeps through it.”

    To view Arrigo Cipriani’s guide to making the perfect Bellini, visit our Facebook page here.

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