There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
In her satirical fiction films, German director Doris Dörrie has long specialized in battles of the sexes, but lately Japanese culture has become her major theme. Dörrie takes it pretty seriously, as she demonstrates with this modestly enlightening documentary about American Zen master/master chef Edward Brown. A student of Suzuki Roshi (also Leonard Cohen’s teacher), Brown is a good-humored guy who can draw myriad parallels between cooking and Zen practice—and just as easily deny them. Filmed at Zen centers in California and Austria, Brown vividly recounts the turning points in his life, which include a trip to visit his bread-making aunt in D.C. when he was 10. (The path to satori begins with the rejection of Wonder Bread.) Dörrie talks to others about their food epiphanies but always returns to Brown, a man who can be reduced to tears by a battered teapot. Note to those who prefer the Food Network to the Four Noble Truths: Brown can really handle a blade.