Doris Dörrie, Germany 1:15 p.m. Sunday, November 18, Plaza Frontenac
Cooking is not just working on food, believes Zen priest and chef Edward Espe Brown, it’s working on yourself. So begins How to Cook Your Life, a mellow and meandering tutorial in the fundamental Buddhist principle of “mindfulness” as it relates to chopping a carrot or sourcing a head of lettuce. Filmmaker Doris Dörrie sets this self-help session on the exquisite grounds of Buddhist centers in Austria and California, where Brown teaches, but she doesn’t dissect the chef (or any of the characters) so much as glaze over what one senses may be his interesting, and volatile, inner life. In the end we never really know the chef, nor do we have a sense as to why mindfulness might add more to our own culinary, and other, lives.
— Kristen Hinman