Don’t be like me : eat before you go see TAMPOPO ! For nearly 2 hours I’ve seen a parade of scrumptious dishes, of which every detail was commented on with finesse and malice. Spectacle for the eyes and the palate (I thought the smell of the dishes on the screen !), TAMPOPO was a delight for my senses and a torture for my stomach. The film ended I was eager to swallow one of the dishes presented in the film. TAMPOPO takes the excuse of a plot minimalist for us to embark on a series of skits (sometimes unrelated to the main story), around the food, and most especially the unconditional love of the japanese for “ramen”, noodles prepared in soup with variations innumerable.
Tampopo, a widow who vivote with his boy at the edge of the highway, thanks to a mediocre meal for the road, will do everything to learn THE ultimate recipe of noodles. The gourmet main are not the leaders or the critics, but the owners of tiny stalls, road scholars or homeless aesthetes. These 1001 nights of pasta in a sauce invite you to laugh, but also to the observation of extravagant that cause food. TAMPOPO is a trip tale which offers the viewers to cross all strata of japanese society, guided by the mystical quest of the “je ne sais quoi” that will transform an ordinary broth into orgasm for the taste buds.
TAMPOPO although prior to the recent wave of comedies on the kitchen (#Head, The taste of life, etc) greatly exceeds these films in the quality of the writing. The japanese film of 1985 struck a pact to be honest with the audience : no sentimentality, only an experience of the senses and of the spirit. Therefore, it’s difficult to speak of a scenario, as the director takes liberties with the main plot. The goal is to make us laugh and reflect, in a style of staging that recalls Jacques Tati. These scenes are funny, absurd but also extremely credible. One feels behind their writing of long days spent observing people eat, talk about food and cooking. Juzo Itami, a sign of a whole film and honest, whose enthusiasm for food is directly communicable to the viewer.
Under the guise of talking about food, the director draws in a hollow obsessions of the japanese society : sexuality, death, stress, honor, hierarchy, fascination / repulsion for the alien, etc, You never get bored, even if sometimes the movie rout. When the end credits comes in, a hint of sadness invades us : we would have asked the rab.
The delirium comic, and gastronomic of Juzo Itami is also accessible thanks to the performance of the actors, all invested in these scenes of daily life enhanced. Tsutomu Yamazaki runs through the film as if he was lost between two adventures to the Crocodile Dundee, the time to save the widow and the orphan and the bad food. His charisma and humour make it epic this could have been a banal comedy on the food. Nobuko Miyamoto , who embodies Tampopo, plays to perfection the self-denial of a disciple who wishes more than anything to learn from her masters. The relationship that is built between the two allows to imagine other scenes that are not visible in the film.
TAMPOPO installs a kind. It is surprising to continue the movie in our head, as if it caused itself around the scenes that we have actually seen, or believed to see.
“Juzo Itami, a sign of a whole film and honest, whose enthusiasm for food is directly communicable to the viewer.”
The greatest merit of TAMPOPO is without a doubt not to solve the mystery that has pushed Juzo Itami to make a film about this theme. The final image of the film has all the answers, is it still necessary for the viewer to phrase the question. With TAMPOPO, the preparation and the tasting are gaining a mystical dimension. Without fanfare, without soaring lyric or photograph, sublimated, Juzo Itami, provokes in the viewer a revelation comic and quasi-religious : the world reflects it all into a broth, while the cinema is located in a bowl of noodles.
• Achievement : Juzo Itami
• Screenplay : Juzo Itami
• Main actors : Nobuko Miyamoto, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ken Watanabe
• Country of origin : Japan
• Output : 25/11/87 French release, 23/09/15 (restored version)
• Duration : 1h54mn
• Distributor : Films Sans Frontières
• Synopsis : A widow who vivote at the edge of the highway, thanks to a mediocre meal for the road, will do everything to learn THE ultimate recipe of noodles.