Reiwa Wedding Hall is one of the popular wedding halls in Tokyo. Their new chef, Saki, is always busy planning new menus. However, one day, something unusual happens.

THE MENU FOR TOMORROW is a very deep and touching short film. Set in a wedding hall and with a young and promising chef, Saki, as protagonist, the short film goes much further than the subject of cooking. It is opened by wonderful views of sky and land, where wheat is growing under the sun, and by views of a temple and a traditional ritual. Then, after the calm music, something sudden happens: while Saki, the manager and the Head Chef are reviewing the menu for tomorrow’s wedding, Ishimori who works in the sales department arrives in a hurry with dreadful news: the couple soon-to-be wed has a new request. They don’t want any food coming from Fukushima and demand that they inspect anything that comes from Eastern Japan.

Saki accepts the challenge, determined to accomplish her task of taking care of the young couple’s menu, but it is not an easy job. The suppliers get offended or threaten to raise the prices, and she has little time. Thanks to Ishimori, Saki finds a laboratory that measures the radiation level and asks for their help: she is very skeptical at the beginning, but she eventually finds a deeper consciousness on the danger of contaminated food. Both Ishimori’s former girlfriend story and the calm inspiration of the Head Chef influence the protagonist’s personal growth.

In a beautiful, moving and cathartic scene under the rain, where she meets a little girl willing to perserve her from getting wet, Saki understands the true meaning of protecting children and the future. She walks in the fields, buys rice from a local grower, gets it tested in the lab and then she prepares onigiri for the wedding, which we see eaten by a child. Great music accompanies this moment in which Saki realises what “menu for tomorrow” really means. The ending sequence is powerful, heartwarming and full of significance. THE MENU FOR TOMORROW is a short film which gently expresses emotions, without the need of being too explicit, but at the same time it is, and it reminds of what happened in Fukushima 10 years ago, during the terrible earthquake and tsunami. Great photography, good acting performances, beautiful shots, a plot which is so simple and so deep altogether, very well directed.

THE MENU FOR TOMORROW won Best Taste Award at Japan Film Festival Los Angeles, Outstanding Achievement Award at Tagore International Film Festival and was screened at Near Nazareth Festival, Prague Independent Film Festival, Kutaisi International Film Festival, Amarcort Film Festival’s Giro del Mondo, and more.

Director: Kazuhiro “Woody” Kiuchi
Country: Japan
Year: 2020
Running time: 20