The Indie Film Corner: “Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog” and “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”

in Arts/Contributors by

By Dennis Tavernetti
“Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog” from the World Film Series presented by Emerging Pictures in HD at USCB Center For the Arts on Monday, June 25 at 4 p.m. and Friday, July 6 at 4 p.m.
Synopsis: Based on a true story, this is the sweet tale of a yellow Labrador Retriever guide dog for the blind named Quill. We follow Quill from the litter to his selection as a guide dog shortly after his first birthday. After training at a Japanese school for guide dogs, Quill is paired with a blind man named Watanabe who at first is reluctant to rely on him. But Quill’s great patience, gentleness and skill eventually win him over and they become inseparable friends.
Ratings & Reviews:  Internet site Rotten Tomatoes rated: critics: 84/audiences: 88. Very high scores. Newspapers reviews: New York Times: “undeniably powerful … fascinating; Newark Star-Ledger: “…wonderful”; Roger Ebert: “… realistic in every aspect … they love us, listen to us, are happy when they help us …”
Previewer Comments:  This heartwarming film in Japanese with English subtitles will appeal to children, families and dog lovers of all ages. It also is fascinating to learn how a “seeing eye dog” is selected and then trained to be the eyes of a blind person. There is a huge human interest element in the film between the reluctant blind man and the trusting faithful dog; which reminds us of the special relationship that canines have with humans compared to any other animal on the planet.
Rated: Unrated, but can be considered to be G, suitable for family and adults.

“Jiro Dreams of Sushi” from The World Series documentary presented by Emerging Pictures in HD at USCB Center For the Arts on Wednesday, June 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Synopsis:  The dreams are those of  85 year old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in the basement of a Tokyo office building. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious 3 stars by Michelin, and sushi lovers from around the globe call months in advance and shell out top dollar for a coveted seat. At the heart of this story is Jiro’s relationship with his eldest son, Yoshikazu, the heir to Jiro’s legacy, who is unable to live up to his full potential as long as he is in his father’s shadow.
Ratings & Reviews:  Internet rating sites, IMDb: 7.6; Rotten Tomatoes: Critics: 98/Audience: 92. Outstanding marks. Newspaper Critics: New York Daily News: “… An extraordinary morsel of a movie”; TIME Magazine: “… beautifully photographed …” ; LA Times: “elegant and tasty …”
Previewer Comments: This world film in Japanese with English subtitles makes clear the sacrifices of perfection by their absence. None of us are going to be top sushi masters, nor massage an octopus for 45 minutes to make it feel  soft and subtle in a customer’s mouth, but a lot of us focus on “work”  to the near exclusion of all else. This film should not only amaze you about how difficult and time consuming it is to master the art, but all that one gives up in order to achieve that goal and excellence. This film should remind us of the need for balance in our lives.
Rated: PG
Tickets for adults are $7, seniors $6, students $5. Call USCB Center for the Arts box office at 843-521-4145 or purchase day of performance. Box office opens one hour prior to show time.
Dennis Tavernetti is a resident of St. Helena Island and retired to the Lowcountry having a lifelong interest in the arts.