Review: ‘Ants on a Shrimp’

Hot Docs 2016

3 mins read

Ant on a Shrimp
(Netherlands, 88 min.)
Dir. Maurice Dekkers
Programme: Special Presentations (Canadian Premiere)


Thanks to the rise of Instagram, the proliferation of 24 hour travel and food networks, the erudite work of celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain and the success of such films as Jiro Dreams of Sushi, it’s been a banner time for food porn.

Any self-respecting foodie knows of Noma, the famed Copenhagen resto that for years achieved “best in the world” status for its adventurous take on Scandinavian cuisine. Ants on a Shrimp showcases René Redzepi and senior members of his Noma team as they take on one of their biggest challenges, bringing their style of food-making to Japan. Redzepi and co. literally move talent and their working ethos to another country to see if they can capture the same magic in another environment.

The film deftly documents both the tireless work of the kitchen team as well as the craft required to make food at this level. It may seem preposterous and perhaps even obscene for those that see food as sustenance rather than aesthetic entertainment, but as a showcase of artistry for the rarefied few that can afford such a meal and audiences that enjoy such feasts vicariously, Ants on a Shrimp is a qualified success.

We witness everything from people traipsing through the forest searching for rare victuals to buckets of fish sperm being deep fried, all done in order to seek out new sensations for taste buds lusting for culinary perfection. While we’re not able to taste the dishes, their splendour in terms of presentation, brazenness in terms of conception and deftness of execution makes this doc offers a wonderful approximation of the fine dining experience. As a film it may be flawed and a little uneven, but as food porn, Ants on a Shrimp has got enough chewable money shots to make even the most jaded of foodies salivate.

Ants on a Shrimp screens:
-Wednesday, May 4 at the Isabel Bader at 6:30 PM
-Sunday, May 8 at the Royal at 6:00 PM


Hot Docs runs April 28 – May 8. Visit for more information

Jason Gorber is a film journalist and member of the Toronto Film Critics Association. He is the Managing Editor/Chief Critic at and a regular contributor for POV Magazine, and CBC Radio. His has written for Slashfilm, Esquire, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Screen Anarchy, HighDefDigest, Birth.Movies.Death, IndieWire and more. He has appeared on CTV NewsChannel, CP24, and many other broadcasters. He has been a jury member at the Reykjavik International Film Festival, Calgary Underground Film Festival, RiverRun Film Festival, TIFF Canada's Top 10, Reel Asian and Fantasia's New Flesh Award. Jason has been a Tomatometer-approved critic for over 20 years.

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