Tampopo The Criterion Collection
Special Edition, Criterion Collection
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The tale of an eccentric band of culinary ronin who guide the widow of a noodle shop owner on her quest for the perfect recipe, this rapturous “ramen western” by Japanese director Juzo Itami is an entertaining, genre-bending adventure underpinned by a deft satire of the way social conventions distort the most natural of human urges, our appetites. Interspersing the efforts of Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto) and friends to make her café a success with the erotic exploits of a gastronome gangster and glimpses of food culture both high and low, the sweet, sexy, and surreal Tampopo is a lavishly inclusive paean to the sensual joys of nourishment, and one of the most mouthwatering examples of food on film ever made.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
- New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
- The Making of “Tampopo,” a ninety-minute documentary from 1986, narrated by director Juzo Itami
- New interview with actor Nobuko Miyamoto
- New interviews with ramen scholar Hiroshi Osaki; food stylist Seiko Ogawa; and American chefs Sam White, Rayneil De Guzman, Jerry Jaksich, and Anthony Bourdain
- Rubber Band Pistol, Itami’s 1962 debut short film
- New video essay by Tony Zhou and Taylor Ramos on the film’s themes of self-improvement and mastery of a craft
- New English subtitle translation
- PLUS: An essay by food and culture writer Willy Blackmore
Top customer reviews
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Nakamura, I love you. Make more.
Some of the humor might be lost on western- cultured audiences as there are sly references to Japanese rites and cultural rituals. A good example is a scene where a gourmet -loving group of homeless folk talk about and rate different vintages of bordeaux wines - a western- cultured snobbishness being chided good-naturedly. Then, as the old 'master' of the group is leaving, the homeless encampment stands up as one and sings to the master. Turns out, the song is traditionally sung by high school seniors at graduations in Japan, as a thank-you to the teachers... I only know this, as my husband chuckled and nodded knowingly at the moment (he matriculated in Japan...)
I have to say that the movie didn't seem dated at all, and the r-rated food/nudity scenes seem as shocking/gross/ funny as they were the first time I saw them.... A great date night movie- make up a bunch of pasta ( be sure to save an egg or two for later...) and enjoy, with a very good bordeaux....
The scene where the truck driver is coaching and timing her with a stopwatch (like an olympian in training) as she prepares food is one of several hilarious scenes in the movie. Her actions and expressions are great! You may find yourself going back to re-watch a couple of the sequences after you finish the movie -- they are quite funny.
Another scene shows a noodle-master teaching an apprentice the art of eating a bowl of noodles - very funny.
As a aside, Tampopo actually makes some excellent examples throughout the movie about customer service in general, knowing your customers, studying your competition. For example, the truck driver points out that she should look at each customer entering her restaurant to figure out whether the person is in a hurry, being leisurely, etc. And when the customer finishes, is there any soup left, why?
Another good sequence is when one of her competitors discovers that she and the trucker have not finished eating their soup, is insulted, and confronts them.
The subplots also all center around food in different settings ranging from: a business meeting, a hobo breaking into a restaurant in order to cook a gourmet omelet, women being taught how to eat noodles when visiting a foreign country, and an especially sensual sequence of the use of food in the bedroom.
The sensual food use was quite sensual and well done, if not somewhat bizarre. These sequences involve some brief nudity, but are quite suggestive and very well done as such. But, this is also the reason I'm giving the movie 4 stars... I know you can't (and shouldn't) make a movie that appeals to all audiences, but in this case the sensual food use is not pivotal to the main storyline and will likely prevent some people (and kids) from watching or enjoying the whole movie, even though they would have enjoyed it otherwise. I liked the whole movie very much, but I've found myself somewhat selective in which sets of friends I loan the DVD to due to these (short) sequences.
If you've seen A Taxing Woman and thought it was just ok (me too), don't let that stop you from giving Tampopo a try. I found Tampopo quite different and much funnier. If you liked A Taxing Woman then you are sure to like Tampopo.
I will certainly watch, enjoy, and laugh at Tampopo again in the future.
4 stars for the Australian DVD... it's NTSC and technically 16x9 anamorphic widescreen, but the packaging and the transfer scream bootleg. It's watchable (much better than early Fox Lorber releases) but don't go in expecting much.
But regardless, this is the best way to see this movie in the US. Hopefully Criterion will put this out one day. Until then, this will have to do.