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Kamome Shokudo (2006) (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Taiwan Version) DVD Region 3

Kobayashi Satomi (Actor) | Motai Masako | Hata Teruo (Actor) | Ogigami Naoko (Director)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

From Ogigami Naoko, the director of 2004's Barber Yoshino, comes Kamome Shokudo, a beguiling, sometimes magical film based on the novel by Mure Yoko. Also known by its English title The Seagull Diner, this 2006 release centers on the lives of three single women over thirty, who each find a new lease on life halfway across the globe!

The proud owner of the titular restaurant is Sachie (Kobayashi Satomi), a lively, down-to-earth woman who decides to open her Japanese eatery in, of all places, Helsinki, Finland! Unfortunately, she has no takers at first - that is, until a teenage anime fan named Tommi (Jarkko Niemi) walks into her place and quickly becomes a regular customer. The second member of the soon-to-be trio enters the picture when Sachie runs into Midori (Katagiri Hairi), a tall lanky gal from Japan whom our heroine immediately befriends.

Soon enough, Midori takes up a job as a waitress at Kamome Shokudo. Business isn't exactly booming when she joins forces with Sachie, but things start to pick up immediately when a mysterious customer (Markku Peltola) enters their lives. He quickly disappears, but not long after, business in the restaurant really begins to take off, as people flock to Kamome Shokudo to get the best cinnamon buns and coffee in town! Rounding out the trio of Japanese women is Masako (Masako Motai), a slightly off-kilter woman who has found herself stranded in Helsinki. And guess what? She's soon onboard the team as well. From then on, Kamome Shokudo is a film full of delightful surprises and even a few life lessons about food, friendship, and where "home" truly is!

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Technical Information

Product Title: Kamome Shokudo (2006) (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Taiwan Version) 海鷗食堂 (2006) (DVD) (雙碟精裝版) (台灣版) 海鸥食堂 (2006) (DVD) (双碟精装版) (台湾版) かもめ食堂 Kamome Shokudo (2006) (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Taiwan Version)
Also known as: Seagull Diner / Ruokala Lokki / Kamome Diner 海鷗餐廳 海鸥餐厅 Seagull Diner / Ruokala Lokki / Kamome Diner Seagull Diner / Ruokala Lokki / Kamome Diner
Artist Name(s): Kobayashi Satomi (Actor) | Motai Masako | Hata Teruo (Actor) 小林聰美 (Actor) | Motai Masako | Hata Teruo (Actor) Kobayashi Satomi (Actor) | Motai Masako | Hata Teruo (Actor) 小林聡美 (Actor) | もたいまさこ | 旗照夫 (Actor) Kobayashi Satomi (Actor) | Motai Masako | Hata Teruo (Actor)
Director: Ogigami Naoko 荻上直子 荻上直子 荻上直子 Ogigami Naoko
Release Date: 2009-06-06
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: Traditional Chinese, Japanese
Place of Origin: Japan
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1, 1.33 : 1
Sound Information: Dolby Digital 2.0
Disc Format(s): DVD, DVD-5
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Duration: 102 (mins)
Publisher: Imagic Media Inc.
Other Information: 2DVDs
Package Weight: 210 (g)
Shipment Unit: 2 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1020326358

Product Information

【加拿大蒙特羅電影展 出展作品】
【2008南方影展 出展作品】





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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Kamome Shokudo (2006) (DVD) (2-Disc Edition) (Taiwan Version)"

August 5, 2006

This professional review refers to Kamome Shokudo (Japan Version - English Subtitles)
Based on the novel by Yoko Mure, Kamome Shokudo ("Seagull Restaurant") is the type of film that defies easy categorization. Sure, director Naoko Ogigami's tasty 2006 offering is seasoned with plenty of humorous moments, but it isn't really a comedy. And while the main thrust of the picture deals with a trio of female characters, it's not necessarily a "woman's picture" per se. And although the movie tends to veer away from mainstream sensibilities and even contains some surrealistic elements towards the end, it doesn't feel like an art film either. But even if proper classification remains elusive in terms of the film's genre, a judgment of its quality isn't quite so hard to come by. Subtle and inescapably charming, Kamome Shokudo is the cinematic equivalent of a minor epiphany - small in scope, but no less revelatory.

The restaurant that lends its name to the film's title marks both the starting and end point of this absorbing, altogether delightful filmic journey. Eschewing the typical sushi bar setup, Sachie (Satomi Kobayashi) has instead chosen to open a more down-to-earth style diner in the middle of Helsinki, Finland. Pristine, beautiful, and inviting, Kamome Shokudo looks like a great place to go for lunch. The problem is that nobody's buying. Sachie's very first customer turns out to be a local named Tommi (Jarkko Niemi) a teenaged anime fanatic who uses his soon-to-be frequent visits as an opportunity to try out his limited Japanese language skills. In an attempt to make conversation, he asks Sachie if she knows the lyrics to the Gatchaman theme song, but it turns out that she can only remember the opening verse.

While browsing a bookshop café, Sachie finds that the catchy tune is stuck in her head. As luck would have it, she encounters another Japanese woman, who introduces herself as Midori (Hairi Katagiri). In a coincidence to end all coincidences, this shy, lanky woman with a pageboy haircut not only knows the words to Gatchaman, but is willing to write them down for Sachie. But to remember the lyrics, it requires a sing-along of sorts, as the two end up warbling out the lyrics in the middle of the cafe. Unsurprisingly, an instant friendship is born.

Of course, the question arises, how did these two Japanese women end up in Finland? Sachie constantly evades the question with humorous responses, but Midori gives a few more details. It seems that one day she just randomly put her finger on a map of the world and decided to go wherever her finger landed. It was as simple as that. But with the high price of lodging to deal with, Midori realizes she hasn't thought things through completely. Luckily for her, Sachie lives alone and offers her home to Midori, and it isn't long before her new houseguest takes up a job at Kamome Shokudo. Too bad there still aren't any customers, even after the two of them try out several schemes to drum up some business.

But things start to perk up when a mystery man (Markku Peltola) enters the diner one quiet day and passes on the secret to making great coffee. And when the ladies decide to add some tasty cinnamon buns to the menu alongside that stellar cup of joe, business starts booming. Who was that mysterious stranger? A guardian angel? In a rare bit of explanation, the film reveals his origins to be far more earthly than one might initially expect.

Around this time in the film, this dynamic duo of Japanese women becomes a trio of sorts when Masako (Masako Motai), an enigmatic, somewhat quirky older woman, finds herself stranded in Helsinki without her luggage. In parallel with the viewing experience of this reviewer, the moment Masako enters the enticing world of Kamome Shokudo, she finds herself hard-pressed to leave.

As straightforward as Kamome Shokudo sounds, the film is not without its questions. How exactly is Sachie able to stay in business without any customers? Why did she really leave Japan? What made the other two women flee Japan as well? There are subtle hints and half-answers throughout the film, but answers - just like genre categorization - remain elusive. To its credit, the film develops in such a way that it's not really a problem that those questions aren't addressed definitively. In fact, it's that very tension between what we are told and we aren't told about the characters that works to enhance and inform each and every scene.

Although the film contains a clear sequence of events leading to a cohesive whole, Kamome Shokudo dispenses with a traditionally structured plot. One could quibble that "nothing happens," but I don't read the film that way. There is a kind of "slice of life" realism in the film, as characters don't pour out their hearts to one another nor do they give specifics about their motivations. Subtlety is the key here. And while there's the suggestion of overt themes or issues - the search for a home away from home, the importance of following your dreams, the actualization of female empowerment - Kamome Shokudo cannot be encapsulated in such a way. Thematically speaking, it's not simply reducible to "a movie about X."

What's most refreshing about that approach is that there's nothing pretentious about it. The filmmakers aren't trying to be arty; they're just presenting these people as they are and asking you to get involved with their lives. Beautifully shot and oddly compelling, Kamome Shokudo translates the camaraderie between women and the intimacy of everyday life to the big screen, but without getting overly sentimental about it. If you're anything like me, you'll find that it's a film that you'll find yourself wanting to watch over again because you know you liked it, but you're just not sure exactly why. To take the restaurant metaphor to its zenith: if Kamome Shokudo was a real place, I'd be a regular. It's a film worthy of repeat business.

By Calvin McMillin

This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of
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