Programmers of the second annual Transatlantyk Film & Music Festival couldn’t have asked for a more appropriate film to launch the event’s first foray into Culinary Cinema.
The sidebar, which launched at the Berlin International Film Festival six years ago under the guidance of curator Thomas Struck, got underway Thursday evening with a screening of Spanish helmer Felipe Ugarte’s Mugaritz B.S.O, a meditative look at the relationship between food and music.
Given the Transatlantyk festival’s focus on film music and the mandate from composer and creative director Jan Kaczmarek that the event be a “festival of ideas,” Ugarte’s documentary appeared to be tailor-made for the Poznan, Poland-based event.
The film chronicles Ugarte’s attempts to create musical representations of some of the dishes found on the menu of the Basque country restaurant called Mugaritz. Through conversations with Mugaritz chef Andoni Luis Aduriz Ugarte, who has a background in music accompaniment to a variety of dishes, traveling as far as Peru and Ethiopia to record indigenous music.
On hand for the screening in Poznan, Ugarte said he was inspired to make the film when it occurred to him that food and music would often have a similar effect on him.
“I think like a lot of people when I was having a very bad time or a very good time I turned to either food or music,” Ugarte told The Hollywood Reporter. “When I ate at Mugaritz I would feel like I was in love, so I told Andoni we need to make a musical project based on this connection to food.”
As is the custom with the Culinary Cinema sidebar, the Mugaritz screening was followed by a four course dinner inspired by the film. Local chef Krzystof Rabek prepared a menu for fest goers that included steak tartar, rainbow trout and pig cheek.
For curator Struck, the Culinary Cinema program is about more than simply a good meal – it’s about a global film industry that he says has become too much like fast food.
“With the mass production of food there is a loss of diversity,” Struck told THR. “And it is the same for film. So for a film festival that is interested in cultural diversity it is not possible without biological diversity. Movies are much more about food than you would think – they provide ‘food for thought,’ and we are losing the importance of the motion picture because we only think of the business aspect.”