Tampopo

Elyn got me this DVD for Christmas.  Aside from being a “spaghetti eastern” (har, har), it is a lovely meditation on the universal act of eating.

This is such an unusual film that I’ve been thinking a bit about what attracts me to it.  I like the joy and the quietness of it — I like happy endings and mundane, as opposed to extreme, conflict.  Also, I enjoy how very foreign it seems… I know zilch about Japan, and for all I know a truck-driving cowboy is some kind of icon there — but here he just seems bizarre.  And, I like the film’s digressions from the main story, which are entertaining but not excessively distracting.

This is a must-see.

10 Comments

  • absolutely agree. it’s a fantastic film.

  • What a wonderful movie. It’s been a couple of years since I last watched it, time to pull it out again…

    (If you want to look at other Asian takes on food, I recommend God of Cookery, a very funny Steven Chow movie with a kung-fu-inspired approach to the topic. I certainly wouldn’t call it a lovely meditation, but it’s a lot of fun, and very different from almost anything else I’ve watched.)

  • David — yeah, God of Cookery is my second-favorite Asian food film :-)

  • It’s a great film. Don’t watch it on an empty stomach though, that can be very dangerous :-)

    It would be interesting to know which DVD transfer you got. Of the two which are commonly available, the Itami Productions version is superior. (It’s the one with the orange cover, with the five characters facing the camera with a yellow glow around them).

  • Tampopo is Itami’s best film, but his other films are well worth watching as well. I quite like A Taxing Woman (Marusa no onna).

    I don’t think Tampopo is a spaghetti eastern, I think it’s a noodle western.

  • Back in the day, it was call a “ramen western” but the “spaghetti eastern” has its own nice twist.

  • Rich — that’s the one I have. Elyn didn’t know which to get, so I think she just picked this one. What is it that makes it superior to the other?

  • Tom: The quality of the transfer is better.

    Read this guy’s comments on the various versions …

    http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDReview/tampopo.htm

    “The Fox Lorber has a lot of deficiencies; non-anamorphic and non-progressive, it has boosted contrast, has frame shifting combing, artifacts, edge enhancements, cropped on the side edges and is completely weak next to the [edition you have]”

  • How on earth did you make it through Ricketts without seeing this movie? Next you’ll be claiming not to have seen Home of the Brave, or Return of the Living Dead parts I and ][.

    Tampopo is in my personal top ten. I agree with another poster that A Taxing Woman is the next best of a generally worthwhile oeuvre.

    Where is Eat Drink Man Woman on your Asian food movie list?

  • Actually, I did see it in Ricketts. Not Home of the Brave, though.
    I haven’t managed to get Elyn to watch all of Zardoz yet.

    I wasn’t that into Eat Drink Man Woman. I don’t think we finished it.

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