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Japan 1986
Directed by
Juzo Itami
114 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars


Tampopo is a marvelloulsy inventive comedy structured as a series of vignettes about eating, Japanese style, that is built around the central story of the search for the perfect ramen (noodle soup). It is a film that in its day was often justifiably cited by cultural theorists waxing about post-modernism in film and is equally as often albeit less sophisticatedly referred to as a "noodle Western".

The Western genre spoofing and irreverent tongue-in-cheek tone is entertaining as a Clint Eastwood-ish truck driver Goro (Tsutomu Yamazaki), and friends assist the widow Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto, the director’s wife) to become a first class ramen cook . However as much, if not more pleasure, is to be had from the stand-alone segues into related food vignettes, particularly those involving a white-suited gangster (Koji Yakusho) and his lover  which are the most memorable, one scene involving a raw egg yolk being one of the most gastronomically  erotic food scenes that you will ever likely to see on screen.

Films that are this rich in their thematic exploration yet at the same time gracefully light in tone don't come along often and Tampopo is one to be savoured, 




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