Painted Desert (1993)

Run Time - 106 min.  |   Countries - United States  |  
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Synopsis by Jonathan Crow

Veteran director Masato Harada spins this Bagdad Café-style drama about a group of quirky strangers stuck in the desert. The film opens with a yakuza named Jiro (Kazuya Kimura) staggering into a remote tumble-down café with an ugly shoulder wound. The place is run by tough-as-nails Japanese-American woman Sari (Nobu McCarthy), who toils as the establishment's only waitress and cook. After convalescing, Jiro reveals some surprising skills -- his culinary prowess would put Alice Waters to shame. Soon the café's handful of patrons are being wowed by some wildly creative, beautifully laid out food. Meanwhile, Mafioso kingpin Al (James Gammon) tires of his usual Italian fare and somehow stumbles onto Sari's place. He's instantly in love -- both with the food and the proprietress.