The story of how Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto), a recently widowed single mom, learns to improve her ramen shop’s noodles that she describes as “sincere, but lacking character” is a pretext for a wild ride through culinary and cultural delights. Dubbed a “noodle western,” the film mixes comedy, food, and sex, and back in the mid-’80s, garnered rave reviews from critics including Roger Ebert who wrote, “‘TAMPOPO’ is one of those utterly original movies that seems to exist in no known category.”
Itami blends two eternal faves – food and sex – as Tampopo’s quest in search of the perfect noodle, leaves plenty of room for tangents on how to cook a delicious rice omelet before the night watchman barges in; how to enhance bedroom delights with a raw egg; and how dreams of yam sausage can salve one’s fears. “A joyous wallow in the art of living to eat. This sublime film sukiyaki of cooking tips and parodies, is an obscenely pleasurable, and pleasure is its cheerful obsession. Tampopo finds in food a source of magical communion; like sex and oysters, this movie is best savoured amongst friends… Tampopo is about living deeply, sloppily, with feeling.” – David Edelstein, Village Voice.
(Japan / 1985 / Directed by Juzo Itami)
R / 114 mins.