By Anne Brodie
People flew and sailed from around the world to eat at KOKS, a two-star Michelin restaurant on a craggy ocean outcropping at Ilimanaq, Greenland. From the airport, they sailed to Koks, The Most Remote Restaurant in the World, run by Chef Poul Andrias Ziska. The haute cuisine establishment was a sensation on the Faroe Islands so why not open another hard-to-get-to, outrageously expensive resto in Greenland? It’s so expensive the locals who built the place and have lived there for millennia can’t afford a meal. Ziska and his cohorts harvest all of their raw produce from their environs, from sea urchins, and whales, including a dish crafted from its skin, musk ox, seaweed, crab, edible crab shell, items that can be stored in a shed, frozen for as long as necessary, dispensing with the idea of seasonal food. Ole Juncker’s documentary feature follows the vigourous young team as it makes what will be a hazardous move on a tight schedule. Opening night is booked with just weeks to open, a kitchen to build, appliances to install, water, power, everything made to order. Things and people must scale a ladder to get to the wooden structure. Drama and serious building issues aside, there’s the food, combinations unheard of, gorgeous visuals of fish adorned with wildflowers, weird dishes of fat and blood, as local as it gets. Chef Ziska is an unusually reticent subject who prefers to gaze with a worried expression into the stunning Arctic seascape rather than speak; it’s frustrating, but his passion and artistry are loud and proud. Foodies, armchair travellers, and adventurers will get a kick out of this one. Viaplay Oct 31.
Back Home, Nisha Platzer’s memoir of her brother opens the Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival tonight. Her debut feature feels like a documentary as we follow her exploring the suicide of her brilliant brother at age 15. She was just. Her memories are recreated and shot on 16mm and Super8 film, “celluloid visuals hand-processed in plants, seaweed, soil, and ashes”. Platzer’s need to “make sense” of it brings her to Josh’ private journals, his mature, dark poetry, family photos, and people who were there when her world collapsed. Josh’ best friend’s mother Swan talks about his constant presence in their home, away from his own, and she helps Platzer with chronic foot pain through yoga. And Sarah, one of his best friends, brings new insights. The diaries reveal a complicated and brilliant thinker, his dreams of being a filmmaker and ideas about sacrificing himself to ward off cultural sickness. To Cuba, to the snowy BC mountains, and back home, Platzer continues her search. Warning – strobing lights and special effects.
Netflix brings All the Light We Cannot See based on Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel to series life. It follows a blind French girl Marie-Laure (Aria Mia Loberti ) during the German occupation; she’s stalked by a sadistic Nazi officer who believes she has something he wants – the Sea of Flames diamond. Her father Daniel (Mark Ruffalo) prepared her well for life in a sighted world, recreating a tiny wooden version of St. Malo, now occupied, that she can learn by feel. He and her uncle (High Laurie) disappear and she continues her father’s work broadcasting illegally, and risking execution, and ironically forges a bond with a young idealistic Nazi officer tasked with erasing “foreign” radio. Directors Shawn Levy and written by Steven Knight recreate the French town as it was during the WWII occupation, and the moral currents running through it – German soldiers, knowing they will likely die when American bombers arrive, try to escape and turn against one another, weakening themselves and pushing officers into madness. The four-parter bows on Nov. 2.
Nicola Rose’ entertaining and earnest romcom Goodbye, Petrushka follows Claire (Lizzie Kehoe) a New Yorker who quits uni on a whim and heads for Paris, the city of her dreams, for new adventures. Meanwhile, retired French skating star Thibaut (Thomas Vieljeux) is told he’s no longer in demand. They meet and connect. Claire’s au pere job, railroaded by naughty kids who are strangers to the truth, raised by an obnoxious grandmother and mother, throws her into despair. She and Thibaut are in tough spots, but Claire, obsessed with puppets, has the germ of an idea for a musical “Oedipuppet”; Thibaut will skate as Petruschka the clown, a role Nijinsky performed in 1911. The Russian folk ballet, set in St Petersburg in 1830, concerns three puppets brought to life; their stories reflect Claire and Thibaut’s experiences. Gorgeous animated sequences lift the visually arresting story as does Kehoe’s delicate and moving performance. Rose’s second feature Magnetosphere, shot this summer in Sault Ste. Marie, stars Colin Mochrie, Deb McGrath, and Patrick McKenna. TVOD including Tubi in Canada.