Tampopo

LetterboxD review link

After a long week Tampopo was exactly what I needed. An irreverent, self-aware, romp, mashing genres, references and characters together to create a specifically Japanese, but universally lovable film. I attended a restored 4K screening of this film at Film Forum in NYC, where Nobuko Miyamoto was in attendence for a Q&A afterward. Her charm, still apparent 30 years after this film came out, and love for the filmmaker Juzo Itami were on full display. Seeing the film in a full-house, with everyone laughing and enjoying every delictable moment, was an added bonus - not dissimilar from seeing Toni Erdmann in a packed theater earlier this fall.

There’s a small moment between Goro and Tampopo, in (where else) a restaurant that struck me. The film, as a whole, is hardly vulnerable, rarely opting for emotion over plot or a joke, but in this moment the two protagonists share some of their life story with each other. Goro says something to the effect of: “I grew up in a miserable family, I never learned how to act in a happy family when I became a father.” In a failm so focused on art, food, feminism, cultural references and so on, it was a particularly salient moment to see a character display his vulnerabilities.