by Chris MaGee
I remember talking with friends about Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien's 2003 tribute to the films of Yasujiro Ozu "Cafe Lumiere". Many of them said, "Nothing happens! People just sit around and eat dinners and lunches," but fans of Ozu know that such scenes were crucial to the master's examination of Japanese domestic life. Japan or no, food is something that is universal to all people, as is love, and both are combined in Kaoru Tachibana's 52 minute independent film "O-Tofu".
"O-Tofu" stars Masahi Sugimoto as Makoto, a man in his late 20's who came of age during the "hiring ice age" of the 1990's. One day he literally crosses paths with 24-year-old Asuka (Rei Kitagawa) as she returns home from the local tofu shop. The two begin spending time together and her infectious, upbeat attitude begins to rub off on the jaded Makoto. Love follows, but Asuka is keeping a secret from her new boyfriend.
55-year-old Niigata native Tachibana started out working for such film studios as Daiei and Nikkatsu during the late 70's, but ended up leaving the film industry to work in an unrelated career. It is only recently that he's returned to filmmaking. "O-Tofu" screened last year as part of the 18th Annual Tama Cinema Forum Film Festival. You can find out more about the film at it's official website here and get a taste of "O-Tofu" from its trailer below.