Ramen Teh

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When was the last time, while watching a movie, you realised you have started caring for a character without knowing? And when something momentous happens to the character, you feel all the significance. At a special screening of ‘Ramen Teh’ last evening, many in the audience started to tear without fully comprehending why. Such deftness in character portrayal, the incredible lightness of unraveling a story, can only come from an experienced hand. There is also a simplicity that can only come from matured understanding of the human condition. Even when a seemingly heavy subject matter is introduced, there is no judgement, the film still feels light, there is no unevenness in tone. In fact, there is an enjoyable leisurely pace consistent from start to end; the whole movie is an exercise in simplicity and lightness. Yet it does not take away from the most endearing reason to watch this movie – at its core, ‘Ramen Teh’ has a big heart. There is tenderness in ways the director handles the characters, as there is love in ways he directs and shoots the food dishes. I have never felt more proud of our local food. To have famous Japanese chefs enjoying and aspiring to master cooking some of them! To have a foreigner describing a famous local dish in details we always knew but never heard in Japanese. This a film Singaporeans at large can be proud of. As a collaboration between Singapore and Japan, the narrative feels real, the local and Japanese elements are integral, the ingredients organic to each other. ‘Ramen Teh’ opens in cinemas today. If there is a Singapore film to watch, one you can savour both the taste of local and Japanese cuisines, one with an ensemble cast, one with the indomitable Mark Lee, and one with the ageless Seiko Matsuda…


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