Film

‘Soul of a Banquet’ serves a side of Chinese history

 

If you go

What: ‘Soul of a Banquet’ screening

When: 6-8 p.m. Sunday

Where: New World Center rooftop, 500 17th St., Miami Beach

How much: Free admission for first 75 people; $175 for reserved seats and post-screening cocktail reception

More info: sobefest.com/movie


ebenn@MiamiHerald.com

When filmmaker Wayne Wang decided to document pioneering Chinese-American chef Cecilia Chiang, he said he wanted to show another side of her beyond her cooking.

“There is a lot that has been done on Cecilia, but one thing that really hasn’t been done is letting her tell her story,” said Wang, whose directing credits include The Joy Luck Club, Maid in Manhattan and Last Holiday. “Her life in many ways tells the history of China in the past 90-some years.”

Wang focused the first half of his new documentary, Soul of a Banquet, on Chiang’s life story, and the second half on her preparation of an intimate dinner in her San Francisco home.

The film will be projected at 6 p.m. Sunday on the roof of the New World Center, 500 17th St. in Miami Beach. The screening will serve as a closing to the 13th annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival as well as a kickoff to the Miami International Film Festival’s Culinary Cinema series, which continues next month. Sunday’s event is free to the public; VIP tickets are $175 and include a cocktail reception and reserved seats.

“Stylistically, the two separate parts of the film are very different,” Wang said last week from Hawaii. “The first half is very austere and poetic, and the second part is watching her prepare this banquet for 13 or 15 people from her kitchen.”

Chiang cooked the traditional Chinese-style banquet as part of a 40th anniversary celebration of Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse restaurant in 2011.

The seventh daughter of a wealthy Beijing family, Chiang immigrated to San Francisco in 1960 and opened her restaurant, The Mandarin, the next year. Chiang enjoyed a successful 30-year run at the helm of the restaurant before selling it in 1991. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the James Beard Foundation last year.

Wang and Chiang, whose son Philip co-founded the P.F. Chang’s chain, will attend Sunday’s screening.

Independent distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories bought the rights to Soul of a Banquet last month and plans to release it later this year, Variety reported.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be able to bring Wayne’s deeply touching and wonderfully delicious portrait to audiences,” Oscilloscope’s Dan Berger and David Laub said in a statement. “It’s a late Christmas gift to O-Scope — and what better way for two Jewish boys to celebrate Christmas than with Chinese food?”

Read more Food stories from the Miami Herald

  • Wine

    Crisp and affordable, Spanish white wines won’t dent your wallet

    When we talk about Spanish wines, it’s easy to think only of its reds — the flagship tempranillos of the Rioja region, the august wines of Ribera del Duero, the trendy new offerings from Priorat.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Bhindi masala: </span>Fried okra in a flavorful spice paste is a surefire way to fall in love with the misunderstood vegetable.

    YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG

    No slime: Indian dish brings out the best of okra

    I am glad that no one ever forced stewed okra on me during my childhood, because the stories I’ve heard from stewed-okra veterans have been traumatizing. Friends and colleagues have described memories of okra that was sulfurous and slimy and yet left a cottony feeling on their tongues and gums. (This is no coincidence: The okra plant is related to the cotton plant.)

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Layered Tomato-Watermelon Salad</span>

    Cooking

    7 new ways to build a 7-layer salad

    From fruits to pastas, novel ideas to liven it up the next time you layer it on.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category