I’m extremely intrigued by the upcoming documentary The Birth of Saké from director Erik Shirai. Previously having helmed the camera for Bourdain’s No Reservations , Shirai’s film focuses on the workers and production seasons at Tedorigawa, a fifth-generation, family-owned sake brewery in Ishikawa, Japan.
What the documentary highlights for me is the intense determination and amount of hard work that goes into creating something so seemingly simple. In an interview with Bon Appétit magazine Shirai describes the challenge of sake making.
What people don’t understand is that you can’t just make sake with machines and program everything. There are all of these variables because it’s a living thing. Things are changing based on the type of rice, the type of grain, how it was steamed. You have to be able to adapt and work with it. Only someone who has that experience can do that.
As you’ll see in the trailer the cinematography is incredibly well-done, capturing the quietness of the Japanese winter but also the frenetic pace and demand that the job requires. The level of quality is on par with the work of other contemporary film documentarians like Jiro Dreams of Sushi director David Gelb or the production team behind A Chef’s Life.