Chef Tyson Cole of Uchi Restaurant, in Austin, Texas. sushitheglobalcatch.com
Runs Fri., March 29–Thurs., April 4 at Grand Illusion. Not rated. 75 Minutes.
When making sushi, a Tokyo chef insists in Mark Hall’s eco-documentary, the rice is as important as the fish. But diners worldwide are fixated on the latter, creating a potential environmental crisis, according to the experts who populate this polemic (essentially Food, Inc. at sea). Sushi corrals chefs, wholesalers, scientists, and fish ranchers who bemoan the skyrocketing demand for bluefin tuna—China’s bottomless hunger looms like a thundercloud over such discussions—and the corresponding depletion of Atlantic tuna stocks. “No species has fared worse at the hands of humans,” says one expert. (Really? Not even whales or Atlantic salmon?) We also meet an Australian entrepreneur who’s farm-raising tuna; the doc suggests bluefin abstinence until he’s perfected the technique. Oh, and there’s even a handy “Seafood Watch” app for your iPhone. Like so many advocacy docs, Sushi oversimplifies the issues. After establishing sushi’s global reach by poking fun at the sweet, saucy rolls sold in Poland by a former pizzeria owner and mocking the rib-eye, cilantro, and jalapeño rolls popular in Texas, the film can’t pin all the bluefin blame on new sushi eaters, who are generally eating California rolls packed with fake crab. Another problem: The starkly saturated images of fresh tuna meat are more gorgeous than Hall realizes. As I overheard at the press screening: “Makes you never want to eat sushi again, huh?”, a moviegoer was asked. His reply: “Actually, it kind of makes you crave it.”