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SAN SEBASTIAN 2021 Culinary Zinema

Rasmus Dinesen • Réalisateur de Michelin Stars II – Nordic by Nature

"Il me semble tout naturel de faire des documentaires sur quelque chose qui me plaît”


- Koks, un des restaurants les plus étoilés du monde au Michelin, est au centre du nouveau documentaire du réalisateur danois

Rasmus Dinesen  • Réalisateur de Michelin Stars II – Nordic by Nature

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

Danish director Rasmus Dinesen is presenting his documentary Michelin Stars II – Nordic by Nature [+lire aussi :
interview : Rasmus Dinesen
fiche film
in the Culinary Zinema section of the San Sebastián Film Festival. The protagonist is the two-Michelin-starred restaurant Koks, situated in a very remote spot on the Faroe Islands. Run by young chef Poul Andrias Ziska, the restaurant is famous for its own interpretation of the local culinary tradition. We talked to the director about the production process and his experience with some rather original ingredients.

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Cineuropa: Nordic by Nature is not the first film about food that you have made. Where does this fascination stem from, and how did you get involved in the Michelin Stars project?
Rasmus Dinesen:
Food really is something special to me: it is a big fascination and my passion. I love to cook. And for me, it just seems natural to make documentaries about something I like. The Michelin Stars series is a good way to start. For the first film we did for Michelin Stars, we had a great opportunity to visit 15 different international restaurants. And the idea was actually the same for this film, but because of the coronavirus, it made more sense to concentrate on Koks this time.

Did you know Koks before you started working on the film?
I didn't know it personally before. Then it was suddenly awarded a second Michelin star, and we discovered it. I read an article by a journalist and already had some stories going around in my head. When we arrived, I was stunned by the beauty and the hardcore nature out there. I wanted to capture this beauty in the film.

How much time did you spend there?
All in all, we went there six or seven times over a period of 16 months, every time for four to five days. We came in summer and winter, and experienced what the protagonists tell of in the film: the summers with light all night, and then much darker days in winter.

Why did you decide to include the reverend in the story?
We fell in love with the island, the setting and the landscape. We wanted a bigger voice, a God-like voice, to tell us about the character of the place. The reverend seemed the best person, since this was the guy who knew it best.

Chef Ziska is very confident when he speaks about traditions and using products from nature. Did you have the impression that this was something genuine, or was it him showing off his eccentricity?
He is not at all eccentric; he is very down to earth. Even though some things he does might be controversial, it’s all part of the story of the island and its inhabitants. This is also the reason why I knew we would have to tell this story. The episode with the whales is actually a coincidence: we were told that they had caught whales and were able to attend. This is not something that happens every day; it’s not systematic. And moreover, the meat is shared with everyone on the island. Nothing gets wasted. And all of the restrictions, such as those concerning the bird hunting, are respected.

What was your relationship with Ziska like?
It was really very easy. He immediately said, “Let's do it,” and told us we could come over as many times as we wanted. During the editing process, we realised, for example, that we had to go back once more, and we did so. Ziska is a very relaxed character, which is rather unusual for a chef. In San Sebastián, he is supposed to cook, for example, and he brought his ingredients from the island with him. They were all stopped at customs, and he said he would just figure out something else, without even panicking.

How did you develop the musical concept for the film?
I come from a musical family. My big brother is a well-known jazz musician. During the last month of editing, we started to think about the music and got Nikolaj Torp Larsen to compose it.

How did you develop the visual concept?
Nature became the major source of inspiration, and even one of the protagonists of the film. Also, the legend of the seals was part of it. It is the link between tradition and modernity, but inspired me to use it as an analogy – between the seals and the chef.

What impact did COVID-19 have on the film?
That was one of the reasons why we concentrated on Koks, because we could travel there without any problem, coming from Denmark. Since the virus affected, and still affects, restaurants around the world, it also had to be a topic of the film.

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