Center for the Arts and Humanities

A Taste of Japan

Composite of images from each of the films

Food in Japanese Cinema

VCAM Fall 2017
Haverford College

A Taste of Japan: Food in Japanese Cinema invites you to experience contemporary Japanese cinema through the lens of food. The series features three films that portray the integral role of food and farming in Japanese culture: A Drop of the Grapevine (Dir. Mishima Yukiko, 2014), Silver Spoon (Dir. Yoshida Keisuke, 2014), and Sweet Bean (Dir. Kawase Naomi, 2015).

A Drop of the Grapevine and Silver Spoon are set in Hokkaido, the largest agricultural area in Japan. A Drop of the Grapevine illustrates the beautiful scenery of Hokkaido through wine-making, while Silver Spoon, based on the bestselling manga, comically depicts life at an agricultural high school. Sweet Bean is set in a local bakery and is a study in loss, confectionary, and the human spirit.

This film series is organized by Tetsuya Sato and Erin Schoneveld and co-sponsored by Haverford's Bi-Co Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, VCAM, the Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities, the Interdisciplinary Minor in Visual Studies, and The Japan Foundation. A Drop of the Grapevine and Silver Spoon are screened as part of the 13th Japan Foundation Film Series.

 Screenings are free and open to the public.

All films are in Japanese with English subtitles and will be screened twice, at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., in Haverford College’s VCAM Screening Room.

 Campus Map


Two men and a woman stand in amidst the grapevines holding a basket full of harvested grapes

A Drop of the Grapevine (Budō no namida, 2014)
Director: Mishima Yukiko

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
VCAM Screening Room

In the coal mining town of Sorachi, Hokkaido, two brothers work hard on the family farm of vineyards and wheat fields. The older brother Ao has returned home after a failed music career and is determined to create a Pinot Noir from the so called “Black Diamond” grapes, native to the region. The younger brother Roku helps Ao but feels conflicted and bitter about his brother’s presence. Their days are filled with challenges, and then a mysterious visitor arrives at the farm. Suddenly their lives begin to move in a new direction.

A Drop of the Grapevine is brought to you by the same film writer/director, producer, leading actor, and production team of Bread of Happiness (2012). The film takes you to the beautiful and agriculturally rich region of Hokkaido to celebrate food, life, and family.

© 2014 "A Drop of the Grapevine" Film's Partners

A Drop of the Grapevine is screened as part of the 13th Japan Foundation Film Series.


A chef carefully ladles batter onto a skillet

Sweet Bean (An, 2015)
Director: Kawase Naomi

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
VCAM Screening Room

Official Selection, 2015 Cannes Film Festival, Un Certain Regard
Official Selection, 2015 Toronto International Film Festival

Sentaro runs a small bakery that serves dorayakis—pastries filled with sweet red bean paste. When an old lady, Tokue, offers to help in the kitchen, he reluctantly accepts. But Tokue proves to have magic in her hands when it comes to making sweet bean paste. Thanks to her secret recipe, the little business soon flourishes… And with time, Sentaro and Tokue will open their hearts to reveal old wounds.

A Drop of the Grapevine is brought to you by the same film writer/director, producer, leading actor, and production team of Bread of Happiness (2012). The film takes you to the beautiful and agriculturally rich region of Hokkaido to celebrate food, life, and family.

Sweet Bean is a film crafted with Kawase’s “characteristic preference for deliberate rhythms and organic naturalism.” Food becomes an extension of Japan’s natural beauty and landscape.


A city-kid dressed in pink riding gear holds a fist up in triumph while standing behind a horse

Silver Spoon (Gin no saji, 2014)
Director: Yoshida Keisuke

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
VCAM Screening Room

A city-kid name Yugo finds himself at an agricultural high school in Obihiro, Hokkaido. Roused at 4 a.m. for equestrian club practice, running a half-marathon around the campus for P.E., and confronted with the sober realities of dairy farming, Yugo experiences a culture clash between his urban and rural existences. True friendship, hardships, and romance are humorously and movingly depicted in this tale about the irrational exuberance of youth and coming face to face with the meaning to life.

Neither an adventure film nor a run-of-the-mill love story, Silver Spoon represents a completely new form of film entertainment: the rustic teen flick. Silver Spoon is a 1.3 million bestselling manga now adapted to film. The original manga has been translated into Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, Indonesian, Thai, Korean, and Mandarin, and the list of foreign editions and global fans keep growing.

 Viewer Discretion Advised.

© 2014 "Silver Spoon" Movie Project, © H.A./S. Silver Spoon is screened as part of the 13th Japan Foundation Film Series.