Review: ‘Peru Sabe: Cuisine as an Agent of Social Change’

"Peru Sabe: Cuisine as an Agent of Social Change" plays like a slick promo for gastronomical tourism and produce export, as well as for famed Catalan chef Ferran Adria.

Peru Sabe: Cuisine as an Agent of Social Change” plays like a slick promo for gastronomical tourism and produce export, as well as for famed Catalan chef Ferran Adria. As such it’s a breezy, picturesque, sometimes mouthwatering diversion, though the “revolution” repeatedly referenced in Peruvian agriculture and cuisine is too poorly contextualized to carry much weight. With foodie focus so prevalent on TV, Jesus Maria Santos’ docu should find plenty of broadcast berths.

High-profile Lima restaurateur Gaston Acurio invited Adria to tour his home country, and the pic is structured as a traveling conversation between them. They sample ultra-fresh ceviche and other urban street foods; visit longtime family-owned eateries, a 400-year-old Cusco outdoor market and organic fruit fields. Pachacutec Culinary School, located in a poor desert area, testifies to the newfound popularity and prestige of cooking studies among youth. With its diversity of climate and ethnicity, Peru is a natural setting for adventure in crops and menu. But the notion that its eco-agro developments are unique remains under-defined here, and the pic finally peters out amid too many shots of locals being thrilled by Adria’s presence. Assembly is high-grade.

Peru Sabe: Cuisine as an Agent of Social Change

Documentary - Peru

Production

A Media Networks and Tensacalma production in association with Documentales Univision and TVE. (International sales: Media Networks Latin America, Lima.) Produced by Maria Jose Cussianovich. Directed by Jesus Maria Santos. Written by Santos, Ilde Llanes, Daniel Vega.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Donald Wilson, Juan Manuel Linares; editor, Roberto Benavides; music, Lucho Quequezana; sound, Sergio Ferrua, Alejandro Rodriguez; re-recording mixer, Cabina Libre; assistant directors, Benavides, Agustina Sanguesa. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, Feb. 4, 2013. (In Santa Barbara, Berlin film festivals; 2012 San Sebastian Film Festival.) Running time: 70 MIN.

With

Ferran Adria, Gaston Acurio, Michel Bras, Rene Redzepi, Dan Barber. (Spanish, English dialogue)

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