×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sushi: The Global Catch

This alternately appetizing and unsettling docu first makes viewers crave sushi, and then tells them why they shouldn't eat it.

With:
With: Kazuo Nozaki, Alistair Douglas, Casson Trenor, Hagen Stehr, Mamoru Sugiyama, Takehiro Asazu. (Japanese, Polish dialogue)

Begging the question whether the world is as hungry for sushi movies as it is for sushi, Mark S. Hall’s alternately appetizing and unsettling docu spends its first 30 minutes making viewers crave the gemlike servings of tuna so lovingly photographed here, and the next 45 telling them why they shouldn’t eat them. Despite this curious tactical approach, “Sushi: The Global Catch” offers an intriguing mix of history, process and state-of-the-fish reports, advocating a reversal of the world’s assault on bluefin tuna fisheries and a short course on the alternatives.

Early chapters of the film will provoke inevitable comparisons with the recent arthouse hit “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” which concerned a venerable chef in Tokyo. In “Sushi: The Global Catch,” uni, hamachi and, most of all, toro and maguro (the two principal cuts of bluefin tuna, the most coveted of all sushi fish) are presented so adoringly, one can almost feel the wasabi burn. Enhancing this is a quick primer on sushi tradition, in which knifemaker Kazuo Nozaki explains the importance of tempering carbon steel and the fact that sushi knives descended from swords, and Mamoru Sugiyama discusses the traditions maintained in his sushi restaurant, which his family has owned since 1884. Visits are made to Tokyo’s esteemed Tsukiji fish market, the New York Stock Exchange of raw fish.

All this edification further whets the appetite. But the film’s real message is the ongoing depletion of bluefin, caused by an explosion in sushi consumption worldwide and barbaric fishing practices. Remedies are being attempted, among them the “ranched” tuna sold worldwide by Australian bluefin champion Alistair Douglas; Casson Trenor’s “sustainable” sushi restaurant in San Francisco; and the efforts of German transplant Hagen Stehr’s fishery-cum-laboratory in Australia, where enormous strides have been made toward breeding bluefin in captivity.

There are moments of not-quite-intentional comedy when the filmmakers visit Texas, where they find a so-called sushi joint that claims to serve “nothing raw, nothing weird,” as well as a street-food vendor, Takehiro Asazu, whose “Longhorn roll” features rib-eye steak, cream cheese, avocado and jalapeno.

One of helmer Hall’s salient points is that, in years to come, an increasing appetite in China for sushi is going to tip the scales, so to speak, toward the utter depletion if not extinction of bluefin tuna. What the docu doesn’t really delve into is the apparent contempt countries like Japan have long exhibited toward world fishing treaties, as evidenced by their continued violations of whaling regulations — and hardly anyone eats whale. Bluefin, as the movie shows, is a whole other fish story.

Tech credits are topnotch. The shooting is delicious, the editing seamless, and Brian Satterwhite’s score maintains a steady, urgent roll beneath the proceedings.

Sushi: The Global Catch

U.S.-Australia-Japan-Poland

Production: A Kino Lorber release of an Alive Mind Cinema presentation of a Sakana Film production. Produced by Mark S. Hall. Executive producers, Dan Green, Scott Gaynor, Alberto Tamura, Robert Barnhart, Lynn Edmundson. Directed by Mark S. Hall.

Crew: Camera (color), Jason Faust, Matt Franklin, Kazu Furuya, Kazutomo Iwata, Jason Wehing, Ita Zoroniec; editors, Sandra Adair, Catie Cacci; music, Brain Satterwhite; sound (Dolby Digital), Wayne Brissette, Patrick Chan, Hall, Hirohisa Ohta, Camille Steiro, Church Tam, Slawomir Walczyk; re-recording mixer, Tom Hammond; associate producer, Adair. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Aug. 3, 2012. (In 2011 Seattle Film Festival; 2011 Intl. Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.) Running time: 75 MIN.

Cast: With: Kazuo Nozaki, Alistair Douglas, Casson Trenor, Hagen Stehr, Mamoru Sugiyama, Takehiro Asazu. (Japanese, Polish dialogue)

More Scene

  • Cara Delevingne attends The Trevor Project's

    Cara Delevingne Recalls Producers Saying That Being Queer Will Hurt Her Career

    Hollywood may be celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month with displays of the rainbow flag and lots of talk about supporting diversity and inclusion, but Cara Delevingne says there’s still work to be done. “Behind closed doors, we are still being told, as I have, by powerful Hollywood producers that we can’t make it if we’re queer,” [...]

  • Kiernan Shipka and Ross LynchMTV Movie

    MTV Movie & TV Awards: What You Didn't See on TV

    Many of the biggest stars in movies and television — including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kiernan Shipka, Sandra Bullock, Tessa Thompson and Brie Larson — came together to present and receive honors at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards, hosted by “Shazam!” star Zachary Levi. And while non-attendees are able to enjoy [...]

  • Dan Stevens

    'Legion' Star Dan Stevens Says His Character Would Fight Thanos, 'Wreak Havoc' in MCU

    Dan Stevens said his powerful, telepathic mutant Legion would do some serious damage if he ever crossed over from the eponymous FX series into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Legion would wreak havoc. He’d probably take on Thanos, let’s see that,” he told Variety on the red carpet at the premiere of the trippy, mind-bending superhero series [...]

  • Anthony Anderson LADF

    Why Anthony Anderson and Billie Jean King are Giving Back with the Dodgers Foundation

    Celebrities and athletes came together at the Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala to celebrate the team’s commitment to supporting youth and to catch a glimpse of the event’s headliner: Bruno Mars. Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss were honored at the fifth annual event, which raised over $3 million for programs benefiting Los Angeles youth. [...]

  • Shia LaBeouf poses at the premiere

    Shia LaBeouf to Host Birthday Fundraiser for Slauson Rec. Theater Company

    Shia LaBeouf is celebrating his 33rd birthday by giving back. The actor, who turned 33 on June 11, will host a fundraising concert later this month for the Slauson Rec Theater Company, a 10-month-old free performing arts program he co-founded in downtown Los Angeles. The night will also include a preview of the Slauson Rec [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content