Tampopo (1985)

JUZO ITAMI

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Alternate title:  Dandelion

Japan, 1985.  Itami Productions, New Century Productions.  Screenplay by Juzo Itami.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , Juzo Itami, .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Tsutomu Yamazaki and Nobuko Miyamoto are reunited from Juzo Itami’s The Funeral as a tough trucker in a cowboy hat who agrees to help a poor widow running a ramen stand learn how to cook well enough to be a gourmet chef. Putting her through a delightful noodle boot camp that involves consulting experts and field trips to study how other cooks do their magic, Yamazaki also finds himself getting sweet on this earnest, good-natured disciple who brings no ego to her desire to learn. Sprinkled between the development of their quest are a number of skits that place food at the centre of increasingly screwball situations, including a gangster who seduces with an egg yolk, and a grieving husband who gets his wife to cook a final meal to stave off her impending death.   This very charming comedy has subtle humour and great wisdom, with engaging characters and excellent performances that really put it across.

The Criterion Collection:  #868

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