Movie fans in London will have the chance to see the film on the big screen at Picturehouse Central for one night. The screening takes place on 17th May at 18.30pm and tickets are already on sale over at the Picturehouse website.
There are a small group of films which have almost universal praise and go down in cinema history as they transcend borders, languages, and cultures. Tampopo is one of them. It was written and directed by Juzo Itami just as he was entering the height of his creative powers. After an early career as an actor, he shifted to roles behind the camera and made a series of fondly remembered and critically acclaimed films starting with Tampopo and including A Taxing Woman.
Tampopo is all about the glories of food, the sexiness and spirituality that goes into making something as simple as ramen and while that may sound like one for foodies, it transcends that particular category to become a hilarious comedy thanks to its funny character-filled script which parodies and creates new tropes and genres. Everywhere I have been in Japan, the moment I mention Tampopo, people’s faces light up. “Ah! You know that one!” It seems to be universally loved.
I am guilty of throwing the word classic around with abandon but if you want to be convinced about this particular film’s greatness then here’s a paragraph from an excellent review from the excellent writings of Roger Ebert:
“Tampopo” is one of those utterly original movies that seems to exist in no known category. Like the French comedies of Jacques Tati, it’s a bemused meditation on human nature in which one humorous situation flows into another offhandedly, as if life were a series of smiles.
The 4K restoration of Juzo Itami’s classic ramen western Tampopo was released on blu-ray in the UK on May 01st of this year thanks to The Criterion Collection. Here’s the trailer:
Release Date: November 23rd, 1985
Running Time: 115 mins.
Director: Juzo Itami
Writer: Juzo Itami (Screenplay),
Starring: Tsutomu Yamazaki, Nobuko Miyamoto, Koji Yakusho, Ken Watanabe, Rikiya Yasuoka, Hideji Otaki, Fukumi Kuroda, Mariko Okada,
Synopsis: Two truckers, Goro (Tsutomu Yamazaki) and Gun (Ken Watanabe) stop by a rundown ramen noodle store owned by a widowed woman named Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto). Her business is struggling and she has to look after her son. The two are harrassed by ne’er do wells in the local community who Goro takes on in a series of fights. Tampopo enlists Goro’s help for more important matters as she asks him to help her research the perfect noodle so she can rejuvenate the noodle bar. What ensues is a series comic vignettes as they try and succeed in their quest.