868 Tampopo

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TimAZ
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Re: 868 Tampopo

#26 Post by TimAZ » Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:36 pm

Got the blu ray yesterday and couldn't be happier. This is one of my favorite films -- I’ve watched it dozens of times on two different horrible DVD editions, and was amazed at how beautiful and vivid the Criterion blu ray is. I was worried about the translation changes because I love the quirkiness of the old subtitles, but the revisions seem to be more accurate and sensible while maintaining the quirkiness. I do wish Gun still said “the noodles lack profundity”, but you can’t have everything.

It's so good to see justice being done to this wonderful film.

Spoiler: Regarding the gangster mentioned upthread, I read somewhere that he is "alive with sensuality" which seems about right. There's an awareness of death too. Ominous music plays in all his scenes, he mentions looking forward to seeing his "final movie" in the first scene, and a drop of his blood falls on the oyster before he eats it. In spite of that (or because of that), he relishes the pleasure to be found in every moment.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 868 Tampopo

#27 Post by FrauBlucher » Tue May 02, 2017 6:12 am


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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 868 Tampopo

#28 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:16 pm

One of my favorite Criterion releases of the past 5 years (at least). This ode to ramen (and female determination) looks and sounds spectacularly good. At times definitely evocative of Bunuel -- and always interesting and entertaining. Haven't checked out all the extras yet -- but I want to especially recommend the interview with the food stylist who did (almost) all the cooking for the film. She not only provides tidbits about the food scenes, but has a lot of valuable observations about the film as well -- one of Criterion's best extras.

longstone
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Re: 868 Tampopo

#29 Post by longstone » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:18 am

I have to agree this is a fine release with a wonderful presentation of the film, and the extras are really interesting especially as Michael says the food stylist interview . The feature length making of documentary is also an amazing insight into Itami's working methods . All in all an essential package .

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 868 Tampopo

#30 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:07 am

I had seen this film once before -- and wasn't totally won over. But this (as longstone correctly says) "essential" release resulted in a (large) upward re-evaluation. Part of this is due to the fact that this film now looks gorgeous (rather than shabby -- as it did in the version I saw in the past).

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Re: 868 Tampopo

#31 Post by ozufils » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:26 am

I agree with Michael, this is easily one of my favorite Criterion releases in a long time. The extras really take you very close to the kind of person and artist Juzo Itami was.

I was completely bowled over by the film and its late-bunuelesque vignettes.

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Mr Sausage
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Tampopo (Juzo Itami, 1985)

#32 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:33 am

DISCUSSION ENDS MONDAY, August 21st

Members have a two week period in which to discuss the film before it's moved to its dedicated thread in The Criterion Collection subforum. Please read the Rules and Procedures.

This thread is not spoiler free. This is a discussion thread; you should expect plot points of the individual films under discussion to be discussed openly. See: spoiler rules.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. What are the side characters and stories in the film for? Do they represent anything, or are they simply humorous food-related digressions from the main story?

2. This film has been described both as an extremely Japanese film and an extremely universal film. How universal is the film and its message, if at all?

I encourage members to submit questions, either those designed to elicit discussion and point out interesting things to keep an eye on, or just something you want answered. This will be extremely helpful in getting discussion started. Starting is always the hardest part, all the more so if it's unguided. Questions can be submitted to me via PM.

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Mungo
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Re: Tampopo (Juzo Itami, 1985)

#33 Post by Mungo » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:44 pm

Before I begin, forgive me if I make any rookie mistakes that others would not when discussing a film here. I'd only like to hear what everyone else thinks about the movie, and I'm happy to start the discussion if it means I get to hear what other users thought.

This is something like the fifth consecutive movie I've seen this week that I would describe primarily as "charming." That's a compliment, and I was reminded very much of the strengths of the movies that I watched immediately before this, though it should be noted that Mon Oncle and Punch-Drunk Love at no point had sex scenes as inspired as those depicted here! As a whole, this mostly worked for me as a humorous exploration of artistic enjoyment presented through a Japanese lens. My initial thoughts on the movie were that it was something very focused on food itself, but as the scope of the movie broadened, and I was won over by the anthological nature of the script, I came to think that the movie was more about the appreciation of a craft in general, rather than just specifically the appreciation of food. This is generally a very optimistic film, and I especially enjoyed the cheerfulness of the titular character, the gangster, and the troupe of hobos, all of whom are always striving to do or accomplish more with what they love.

The one real criticism I have for the movie lies with some of the structural editing. Namely, some of the choices for scene transitions feel inappropriate, like the repeated irises out on specific objects. There must be four or five transitions from the main story to the side story, or vice versa, by way of irising out, none of which feel appropriate or sensible for what is going on. The last of these, the iris to black from the gangster's death into the opening of the new ramen shop, feels bizarre, much more like a bad edit from In The Mood For Love than almost anything preceding it. This is the only Itami film I've seen, so feel free to let me know if this is common in his films. It just felt out of place to me. Regardless, I enjoyed much of the rest of this movie, and I advise anyone with an interest in Itami, ramen, or food to check out the movie if they haven't already.

As a side note, this movie has some of the loudest and most sibilant slurping I've ever heard, either in a movie or in real life. The slurping in the scene with the spaghetti instructor reminded me of the electrical noises in the elevator in Eraserhead.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: Tampopo (Juzo Itami, 1985)

#34 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:16 pm

Mungo was also kind enough to provide two discussion questions, which I've added to the first post above.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Tampopo (Juzo Itami, 1985)

#35 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:54 pm

The spaghetti eating lesson was hilarious (with the wonderful Mariko Okada as the clueless sensei) -- one of the many high points of the film.

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Re: Tampopo (Juzo Itami, 1985)

#36 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:58 pm

Sorry this has generated no real discussion (despite one very substantive post -- not mine, obviously).

One thing that struck me was the reflections/echoes of this film in Kawase's less "wild" but equally kind-hearted "Sweet Bean". This also involves a stranger who comes to the rescue of a befuddled and not too successful operator of a food establishment (but the sex roles of rescuer and rescuee are reversed). I guess there are also some echoes of Tampopo in the also kind-hearted Kamome Shokudo (Seagull Diner) of Naoko Ogigami (albeit with an admixture of Kaurismaki).

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Re: Tampopo (Juzo Itami, 1985)

#37 Post by longstone » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:25 am

To me the side characters seem to represent different levels of social order and how they fit into the concept of striving for perfection or playing/not playing by the rules of Japanese society . You have the homeless people , the rich old man with his cooks and assistants , the high ranking business men and the new recruit, the local working class who hang out with Tampopo , the gangster and his lady, the etiquette class and the foreign visitor and so on .
I love this film and agree it is both charming and funny.
Probably it is a very Japanese film presumably making points I don't always understand as a westerner but I also think it works universally,
probably a lucky accident to become so popular overseas due the food , and the obvious erotic scenes but also the humour transfers because it's both visual and uses sound effects as you both describe above.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Tampopo (Juzo Itami, 1985)

#38 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:05 pm

Was there any precedent for such a food-centered film? I can't think of one...

longstone
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Re: Tampopo (Juzo Itami, 1985)

#39 Post by longstone » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:20 am

I can't think of anything older where food is so central ,
Family breakfasts,dinners and restaurant dining , cafes bars etc. pop up all over Ozu for example, so eating at home and out was being depicted in Japanese films regularly . There are notable cake eating scenes in a couple of Ozu films. Maybe these sort of scenes had a small influence on Itami.

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zedz
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Re: 868 Tampopo

#40 Post by zedz » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:10 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:Was there any precedent for such a food-centered film? I can't think of one...
La Grande Bouffe springs to mind.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: 868 Tampopo

#41 Post by FrauBlucher » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:39 pm

And Babette's Feast.

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knives
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Re: 868 Tampopo

#42 Post by knives » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:02 pm

I was thinking of those, but they seem more interested the process of eating rather than the food itself.

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Mungo
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Re: 868 Tampopo

#43 Post by Mungo » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:20 pm

knives wrote:I was thinking of those, but they seem more interested the process of eating rather than the food itself.
Exactly, and I think Tampopo kind of mocks the act of focusing on that process (the spaghetti instructor, the older salarymen in the restaurant) in favor of a more simple yet more full enjoyment of eating (the hobos and their leader, the gangster) and even of food itself. I haven't seen another movie where the look and the texture of the depicted food is treated with such reverence, as with the ramen instructor at the start, or with such humor, as with the old woman crushing the peaches.

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domino harvey
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Re: 868 Tampopo

#44 Post by domino harvey » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:20 pm

FrauBlucher wrote:And Babette's Feast.
Didn't this come after?

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zedz
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Re: 868 Tampopo

#45 Post by zedz » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:22 pm

FrauBlucher wrote:And Babette's Feast.
Babette's Feast is a post-Tampopo film though, and I think Tampopo was definitely the film that showed that food-centric filmmaking could be a significant arthouse niche.

Of course, if you're looking beyond feature films, Les Blank made Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers in 1980. That film was even distributed with recipes.

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swo17
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Re: 868 Tampopo

#46 Post by swo17 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:36 pm

Doesn't Szindbad spend a lot of time lingering on food in all its tactile beauty?

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Mungo
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Re: 868 Tampopo

#47 Post by Mungo » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:03 pm

If it does, I wouldn't know, but I'd certainly like to see more of that sort of an approach to food. Does Sznidbad have an Region 1/A release?

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swo17
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Re: 868 Tampopo

#48 Post by swo17 » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:32 pm

Nope, just the Second Run and a Hungarian edition.

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