Sunday, September 15, 2019

Le Chocolat de H - Movie Review

The Movie: Le Chocolat de H

The Director: Takashi Watanabe

The Story: Explore the world of Hironobu Tsujiguchi and his award-winning artisanal chocolates.

The Review:
Always keep smiling and move forward. That is the motto of world famous chocolatier Hironobu Tsujiguchi, the subject of this deliciously beautiful documentary directed by Takashi Watanabe. The film follows Tsujiguchi-san as he prepares to enter the 2018 Salon de Chocolat competition in France which he has won the gold prize award for each of the previous five years. As we get to know the man behind the chocolates, it becomes apparent that he is a multifaceted individual well versed in baking, confectionery techniques, business, art, and Japanese culture.

Each of these attributes, or ingredients, are utilized in creating the most amazing, beautiful, and delicious bits of candy I hope to some day be able to sample. I loved how he took great care in how he sourced every ingredient from producers around the world and traveled to each place to learn not only about the product but about the people and the culture and the traditions that all went into why that items was so special. While Tsujiguchi comes across as a very mild mannered person, you can also see the passion and fire that fuels his creative instincts and Watanabe expands on these realizations with an in depth look at the troubled childhood that turned to inspiration.

Since this documentary is about chocolates, Watanabe spends a lot of time pointing his cameras at not only the candies but also the ingredients, the landscapes, and techniques that go into creating them. There is a visual artistry to the film that matches Tsujiguchi himself and the director lingers on moments of beauty whenever he can and especially when it comes to close up shots of all the delectable creations that are available for judging in the competitions or for purchase in the stores.

As the competition concludes and the prizes are doled out, I feel like Hironobu Tsujiguchi would keep smiling and moving forward no matter the result. Le Chocolat de H is an inspiring portrait of a man who has mastered the art of creation by always looking to see what is possible and this documentary has also inspired me to eat all the chocolate.


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