The Birth of Saké (2016)

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In a world where most mass produced goods are heavily automated, a small group of craftsmen must brave unusual working conditions to preserve a 2000-year-old tradition that we have come to know as saké in its most classical form, as exemplified by the 144 year-old family-run Yoshida Brewery. As directed by Erik Shirai (formerly a cinematographer on No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain) THE BIRTH OF SAKE is a tribute to artisans who have dedicated their lives to carrying on this increasingly rare craft. In its beautifully poetic shots, we get to know the brewery's staff, who spend 6 months out of each year at the brewery, forsaking family, friends and even holidays in order to maintain the round-the-clock process the age-old process demands. As artisans who must dedicate their whole lives to the making of this world-class saké, their private sacrifices are often sizable and unseen. Acquisition Title: The Film Sales Company. 91m.

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Critic Reviews for The Birth of Saké

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (3)

One needn't be a drinker, or particularly interested in Japanese culture, to be fascinated by this documentary portrait of the Tedorigawa Brewery, which was founded nearly 150 years ago and is one of the last remaining breweries that makes saké by hand.

Dec 1, 2016 | Full Review…
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"The Birth of Sake" is an engrossing introduction to the traditional cultivation of the rice-based alcohol that is part of Japan's cultural heritage. But the film's true focus is an endangered way of life.

Mar 17, 2016 | Full Review…

Shirai doesn't answer a major question that viewers of his impressionistic slice of work-life doc The Birth of Saké are bound to wonder: Why does the Tedorigawa Brewery's arduous, old-fashioned fermentation process make its sake superior?

Mar 15, 2016 | Full Review…

WARNING: if you love the very special beverage called saké, your mouth will be watering throughout this doc's mesmerizing 94-minute running time.

Mar 21, 2016 | Full Review…

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