Thursday, February 18, 2016

751. Tampopo

Directed by Juzo Itami

I have never seen a Japanese comedy. In fact, I couldn't even name one before I saw this.  Although I confess this didn't have me clutching my sides, it was nice watching a Japanese film where no one was beheaded.

The film starts with a gangster yelling at a man for eating potato chips in the cinema (fun fact: the character was loosely based on me).  He tells us the movie is starting and it does.  Trippy.  The story begins with two truck drivers coming across a rundown noodle restaurant.  The restaurant is owned by a widow, who struggles to keep the business afloat while simultaneously raising her young son.  The drivers decide to train her to be a noodle goddess and make her restaurant successful.  There are other subplots all featuring sex, food, and death (often in strange combinations).

Man, I really fell in love with all of these characters (even the weird gangster).  This film wasn't perfect, as I didn't think a lot of the secondary story lines worked (the one with the oysters was just plain disgusting).  Still, it felt very cohesive and I felt like the success of Tampopo was crucial to my own happiness.  I think I am getting a bit stir crazy.

An obscure, funny movie that I never would have found without The List.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Many young Japanese mafia members (called Yakuza) do wear the flashy suits shown in the film.

Slurping your noodles is considered polite in Japan, as it demonstrates your appreciation to the cook.  Meanwhile I had to mute the noodle etiquette scene because I couldn't take the...noises.

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