Former actor Juzo Itami's second feature, after the success of The Funeral (1985), is a thoroughly offbeat but most enjoyable comedy on the subject of food. Main plotline is pretty slight: a truck driver (Ken Watanabe) and his friend take pity on a pretty widow (Nobuko Miyamoto) who operates a rundown noodle shop, and undertake to teach her how to make a success of her business.

Former actor Juzo Itami’s second feature, after the success of The Funeral (1985), is a thoroughly offbeat but most enjoyable comedy on the subject of food. Main plotline is pretty slight: a truck driver (Ken Watanabe) and his friend take pity on a pretty widow (Nobuko Miyamoto) who operates a rundown noodle shop, and undertake to teach her how to make a success of her business.

Along the way, Itami takes dozens of sidetracks, all of them on the theme of food. Pic actually opens with a gangster addressing the cinema audience and telling them not to eat noisy food during the screening. Later on, the gangster and his moll do some pretty erotic things with food, especially the yolk of an egg.

The viewer learns how to make noodle soup in three minutes flat, and how to make the best turtle soup. This is a film that’s as informative as it is funny.

Pic is certainly a bit too long but deserves attention for its superb filmcraft (with great lensing by Masaki Tamura) and cheerfully loony obsession with all things gastronomical. Title [which means Dandelion] is the name of its heroine and her restaurant.

Tampopo

Japan

Production

Itami. Director Juzo Itami; Producer Yasushi Tamaoki, Seigo Hosogoe; Screenplay Juzo Itami; Camera Masaki Tamura; Editor Akira Suzuki; Art Director Takeo Kimura

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1986. Running time: 114 MIN.

With

Ken Watanabe Nobuko Miyamoto Tsutomu Yamazaki Koji Yakusho Rikiya Yasuoka Kinzo Sakura
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