Director Minoru Kurimura’s debut feature consists of three unrelated but thematically-connected stories revolving around the seductive powers of food. In one story, Saori, a cook at a small pub, desperately wants one of her customers, Kujo, to eat the food she makes to order, but Kujo refuses to eat anything in front of other people. In another story, Mie, a bulimic woman who lives with her boyfriend, becomes pregnant. She asks her boyfriend if he wants to keep the baby, but when he disappears, she tells her friends she ate him. In the third story, businessman Konaka is struggling to run his company, concerned that he won’t be able to put food on the table for his fleshy wife and growing daughter.
Food and the Maiden handles these three mini-dramas with a dry, black humor. Unlike other foodie films currently in vogue in Japan, its themes and conflicts spring naturally from the strengths and problems associated with cooking and eating, and not the other way around. Kurimura and his DP film his characters’ funny interactions with a floating and non-judgmental camera eye, though he doesn’t miss the opportunity to zoom in close for delectable shots of Japanese culinary porn.