LAAPFF 2020 The Chef on Tolerance in Ethnic Places

14 Oct

The Chef / Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2019(SSFF & ASIA 2019)By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Available to viewers in Southern California (excluding San Diego County) from Oct 1 at 12pm PT to Oct 31, 2020 at 11:59pm PT. Click here to watch the film on Eventive.

Hao Zheng‘s short film, The Chef is eerie in the sense that we are already replacing workers with robots. The documentaries I’ve looked at earlier this year show how they can be helpful in various situations. From therapy to companionship, just where is the line drawn? Writers Ithaca Deng and Leqi Vanessa Kong can easily take a page out of Star Trek: Picard (or vice versa, when considering the original release date) if they wanted to expanded on the idea.

This narrative has a simple premise of showing how a master trains a synthetic apprentice in a Chinese restaurant. The line cooks are not happy, and they fear losing their jobs. William, the humanoid looking bot, is oblivious (beautifully played by Quinn Von Hoene), but sifu Pu (Jim Lau) is not as concerned since he’s looking ready to retire. In some of the lessons, we find this master teaching this version of Data how to deliver soul food.

However, getting a machine to achieve emotion is not easy. Michelin star chefs let instincts guide them during the process, and this detail in understanding how a chef works is much appreciated. It’s like how Remy from Ratatouille relies on his enhanced senses to punch up a meal.

There’s more to this work, which includes race relations. It’s amusing to see how Chinese-Americans treat robots as the new third class. Xenophobia exists amongst the young, and Pu is not like them. This individual made his peace and even tries to teach William Confucianism. Instead of hate, perhaps we should all try to understand others, no matter who they are, and the world can be a better place.

4 Stars out of 5

One Response to “LAAPFF 2020 The Chef on Tolerance in Ethnic Places”

  1. Two Hungry Blokes 2020-10-16 at 6:29 pm #

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    Sometimes, you never know where some of the best wisdom can come from in the kitchen in this sci-fi short.

    Like

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