Master Cheng (PG) Close-Up Film Review

Dir: Mika Kaurismaki, Finlnd/China 2020, 113 mins.

Cast: Pak Hon Chu, Anna-Maija Tuokko, Lukas Hsuan

Review by Carlie Newman

A slow, intimate, quiet film with gorgeous filming. We meet Cheng (Pak Hon Chu), who has come to Pohjanjoki, a small town in Finland looking for his former Finnish friend.

He is accompanied by his young son, Nunnio (Lukas Hsuan). Ending up in a diner Cheng keeps asking for the person , but nobody understands him.. The owner of the diner, Sirkka (Anna-Marie Tuokko) takes pity on him and gives him accommodation.

Cheng repays her by cooking for customers in her diner. At first the locals are not keen on the food but get to love it as do tourists who flock to taste Cheng’s food. Cheng and Sirkka form a connection and Nunnio gets used to his new life. The ending is a bit strange, but for the most part, the story is acceptable.

The cinematography is lovely and the gentle humour and slow pace give the film real heart. Director, Mika Kaurismaki has managed to produce a pleasant if undemanding little gem. Added to this, the performances of the three main characters, Cheng, Sirkka and the little boy are very believable and not forced or over acted.