Part of the 2024 season: Unforgettable

The Zen Diary

Tsuchi o kurau junika getsu, 土を喰らう十二カ月

Director NAKAE Yuji

Cast SAWADA Kenji, MATSU Takako, NARAOKA Tomoko, DAN Fumi

2022, 111 min, English subtitles

Tsutomu (SAWADA Kenji) is a writer who lives in a secluded mountain cabin in Nagano. He shares the space with his dog and the unburied ashes of his wife Yaeko, who passed away thirteen years ago, and spends his time harvesting vegetables, then cooking with them using a method he learned as a young Buddhist monk. Though largely solitary, he receives occasional company from his editor and romantic interest Machiko (MATSU Takako), and from his rather eccentric mother-in-law, Chie (NARAOKA Tomoko).

When Tsutomu one day finds Chie dead in her home, he is forced to finally consider his feelings on death. He works to arrange Chie’s funeral proceedings, and once the funeral has concluded, invites Machiko to live with him, an offer to which she gives serious thought.

Based on an essay on food and cooking by leading Japanese author MIZUKAMI Tsutomu, The Zen Diary eschews drama in favour of its focus on zen cuisine and seasonal scenery, offering audiences a glimpse into the joys of a slow, simple life seen through the lenses of bonds, memory, and love.

 

水上勉の同名エッセイを映画化。長野の山奥で愛犬と亡き妻の遺骨と共に暮らす作家、ツトムの1年を、四季折々の食を織り交ぜて描く人間ドラマ。ツトムは幼いころ禅寺で暮らした経験から、今も自分で育てた野菜や山で収穫した山菜を使い、精進料理を作る毎日。編集者の恋人との静かな時が流れる。作品内の料理は、全て料理研究家の土井善晴が手掛けた。

(Special thanks to Eikoku News Digest)