Thursday, May 5, 2016
Birth Of Sake
The laborious methods of traditional sake brewing is examined in this languid documentary. Featuring few words and naturalistic visuals, the production techniques of sake brewing is shown. Delicate clouds of koji mold, which converts rice starch to sugar, is sprinkled over large quantities of rice in wooden boxes, as intertitles explain the process amidst evocative time lapse footage of bubbling, fermenting rice and snowy rice fields. The charming camaraderie of workers, who must live at the brewery 6 months of the year, is a highlight, although the sadness they feel due to missing their families and the difficulties they face finding other jobs during the 6 months they are home is palpable. The 140-year old Tedorigawa brewery struggles to maintain market share due to decline in sake popularity from a younger demographic more interested in beer and wine, and who think sake drinking is 'old fashioned', although the brewery finds new success in foreign markets. The Birth Of Sake is a bittersweet, slowly-paced documentary about the little understood and nearly forgotten world of sake brewing.