Stars skillfully use chopsticks for Chinese food in Youth

Youth overview.

Youth is the time of life when one is young, but the spirit of the heart is more important. Everybody gets old one day. How do we look upon life with a peaceful and graceful mind when we are old and we find the conflict between youth and old, desire and fear? Youth tries to tell a story of getting old and facing the concomitant loneliness, a story of the eternal struggle between age and youth, the past and the future, life and death, commitment and betrayal, but not to find the answer. It is a 2015 Italian comedy-drama film written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino. It is the director’s second English language film. The film premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the Palme d’Or and had a positive critical response.

Stars, Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel as best friends, Fred Ballinger and Mick Boyle, who reflect on their lives while holidaying in the Swiss Alps. The two friends are old, and Fred is a retired composer and conductor, but Mick still works as a film director. Fred’s daughter and Mick’s son are of a couple whose marriage is on the breaking edge. Fred and Mick observe all guests curiously in the hotel, the beautiful Miss Universe, the enthusiastic young writer, the monk, and so on. From the beginning to the end, the film dexterously handles such strong comparison between young and old as the wrinkled and smooth flesh, the energetic and dispirited movement, the slim and fat posture, in the same place, at the same time, but never conflicting. Just in a quiet and luxury hotel, far from noisy cities, everything happens reasonably.

Stars skillfully use chopsticks for Chinese food in Youth

Stars skillfully use chopsticks for Chinese food.

There is a meal in the film, Chinese food. All stars, Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and other actors and actress, skillfully use chopsticks for Chinese food. That is amazing. For most westerners, they seldom have the chance to use chopsticks at home or outside, so they can’t practice the skills. There is a saying that diligence redeems stupidity, but an almost useless skill is really not worth practicing. And, there’s rarely anyone who’ll take the time to teach them the correct form or motions. Even for Chinese people, they have to exercise for years from the childhood to master the profound skill.

The meal may be a breakfast. The film doesn’t mean to show what they eat, but show the atmosphere and mood, so it can’t tell what the foods are. But from the glimpse of the picture, some exquisite Chinese snacks are shown. Chinese snacks are of very important part of Chinese food. They may be made from flour, rice, meat, vegetables, and other unnamed eatable things to strengthen the flavor, which increases people’s appetite considerably. It is very pleasant for talking, and story goes smoothly to reveal the plot.

Western fare and Chinese food, a comparison of young and old?

The film brightly makes things of sharp contrast together to highlight the theme of the story, and something is dealt with metaphors, maybe. Take the Chinese food for an example. Located at the foot of the Alps Mountain, in Eastern Switzerland, the Waldhaus Flims hotel is the main location for the film, where is a splendid place for vocation. I have checked the hotel menu, and find that no Chinese food is served. Of course, further on-the-spot investigation might be required to confirm that. And the film directors rack their brains to arrange a Chinese meal, and why?

Well, the knife and fork for west meals has a short history. In the early stage, people just used a knife which was not exactly tableware but multifunctional. It was used to kill, anatomize or cut the prey. When the prey was cooked, the knife was used to eat meat. Until 15th century, because the knife was sometimes dangerous to take the meat into the mouth, the fork was invented to replace the knife to take food into the mouth. From then on, the knife and fork formed a dinner service. Until 17th century, England upper class began to use three-point fork, and modern four-point fork was used until 18th century.

The Chinese chopsticks have been in use for thousands of years. According to recorded history, the chopsticks history can be traced back to the11th century B.C., when the King used the ivory chopsticks which was first documented. The Chinese chopsticks which simply contain two small slender sticks are based on the lever principle. They can be made of bamboo, wood, plastic or metal, or luxury ivory, gold and silver.

In the film, the short-history knife and fork and the long-history chopsticks are just like a young man and an old man, just like the youth and the old. In one way, the comparison is part of the artistic conception in the film. The knife and fork and chopsticks have their path and experience, but along the way they meet somewhere to look up each other. They have different ways of doing things, where the conflict arises, and it’s part of life. On the other hand, the knife and fork and chopsticks were used in the past, are being used now, and will be used in the future. Just like that the conflict and comparison of the young and the old is always there. They exist, and they must be reasonable, but we have to look through the conflict and comparison to look into the future.