I want to thank Xavier-Justin Nagy, a very creative Canadian indie filmmaker who makes interesting music videos and promotional shorts, some of which are on Vimeo and YouTube. When I was a child more than a half-century ago, my mother’s best friend, Lillian Kaplan, would always make rice krispies treats for me. Birthdays, any days. Man, I still love those things. Lillian (who passed away in April) would have loved “Mi Hua Gao (or the Chinese Rice Krispies Square),” even if the preparation was totally different than hers.
The film, shot in Gaogiao, China, is pretty much a simple observation of a street vendor. Ambient noise is captured as is—–passersby chatting, car horns beeping. The cook plops some uncooked rice in a makeshift crock pot. Soon it explodes like a cannon and the contents are all puffed. The man’s recipe next calls for warming up a wok pot, smothered in oil and then filled with packaged rice. Cook over open flame.
He multitasks, stirring the contents with his left hand, while his right appears to be operating something to fan the fire. Again, the camera is merely a spectator, so we watch and enjoy the process, with everything eventually ending up in a large pan. Flatten, slice (nice and big!), and humbly serve. Add in a ‘yum’ for good measure. A short, pleasant diversion that was served with the hilarious “The Search for General Tso” at this year’s AFI DOCS festival.