Friday, 4 February 2011

Food on Film. 5. Tampopo

Tampopo (1985) - directed by Juzo Itami and starring Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto and Ken Watanabe - is a wickedly funny satire of both highbrow cinema and elaborate food rituals. The plot involves two truck drivers, who help revive the fortunes of a fast-food noodle café run by the widowed Tampopo (Dandelion). They turn the place into a temple to the art of ramen making. Around this plot are woven sketches and subplots involving gangsters, a gourmet French restaurant, etiquette classes, and so forth.
This film revolves around the joy of food. The idea that formulaic food preparation and eating rituals are the source of wisdom is thoroughly mocked, as exemplified by the celebrated noodle master scene. The noodle-slurping scene is reminiscent of the baked bean campfire scene in Blazing Saddles (Tampopo was billed as a “noodle western”). Then there’s the erotic raw egg scene, the melodramatic oyster scene….. In fact, this film is enjoying something of a revival, because so many of its scenes are viewed on YouTube.

1 comment:

  1. Fiona Dodwell commented (via facebook): This is one of those films I have assumed Ive seen, but I dont remember it from the clips! Have to have another watch!
    Stephen Nottingham replied: I think a lot of the humour passed me by when I saw it as a youngster at the cinema.