Films about food feature so regularly on my roll-call of film favourites that I could fill a year’s worth of Film Friday slots with the various delights of culinary cinema.
But however long the list and whatever my current favourite, Tampopo will always hold a very special place in my heart. Like a first kiss, or the first bite of a Thai fish cake (when you’ve grown up on classic “Kiwi” tucker), Tampopo was a revelation; an experience unlike anything that’s gone before.
It’s been called the first “ramen western, but it’s also a comedy, a gentle almost-romance, a bromance and a play on so many film tropes and genres that it’s hard to keep up.
At its heart is a quest for the perfect ramen. The genius is that this quest involves tough-guy truckers, a young widow and her bullied son, some homeless people, a rich elderly man, a few heart-of-gold punks and an assorted cast of Hollywood stock characters played not so much against type, as alongside but in a wholly different cultural context. Not forgetting some salarymen, a group of young women learning western etiquette, a dying housewife, a couple of con artists, and a gangster and his girlfriend who inhabit an almost entirely separate movie.
It’s messy, crazy, cheesy, sometimes quite erotic, seriously good fun.
And no matter how often I watch it I always end up craving a bowl of noodles.
About Film Friday
Sarah at Art Expedition, and Darren, The Arty Plantsman have initiated this great new blogging project. You can find out more and see their chosen films for the week by visiting Darren’s and Sarah‘s latest posts.