Thursday, September 11, 2008

タンポポ

Tampopo! I watched this movie again tonight for the first time in many years, and it's still as brilliant of a movie as I had remembered.

This time I think that I was most impressed by the small subplot where the man comes rushing home to find his wife on her deathbed, and he commands her to arise and make dinner. She somehow stumbles to her feet, makes her way to the kitchen, and somehow makes dinner while looking like a bit of a zombie. The kids set the table, and the husband, the doctor, and the nurse all look on in amazement as she brings the food to the table. The family serves themselves and they begin to eat, and the mother collapses, the doctor proclaims her dead, and everyone starts crying. Then the dad insists that his children all keep eating, because this was their mother's last meal, and they had to eat it while it was still hot. The picture of people crying while trying to eat is really stunning. A powerful feeling is conveyed in this scene.

My old favorite part used to be this:
Tampopo
I mean, just look at how enormous that ice cream cone looks in his little hand!

When the man, after going to the dentist to get an abscess removed from his tooth, gets an ice cream at the park where he meets a very young boy wearing a sign around his neck that says "I am being raised on natural foods, please don't feed me anything sweet or any junk food."

The man hands the boy the ice cream cone, and the boy seems to hesitantly pump his hand with a confused sense of excitement. Finally, the little boy really digs in, smothering his face with ice cream, and the moment is the gastronomical equivalent of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. This boy has left bliss, and now knows the difference between good and evil foods. It is truly a wonderful moment in food cinema.

For some reason I seemed to remember the movie ending with the yakuza guy telling his girl about the legendary yam-filled boar intestines, but I was surprised to see that the movie actually ends with a very long shot of a baby breast feeding in the sunlight. Man's obsession with food comes full circle. I truly like that.

2 comments:

Mom said...

I recall there is a part with an endodontist. I had to go to see an endodontist, and excitedly told him about the movie, and he obviously thought I was a nut case. The other part I really liked is when the women are trying to eat spaghetti like westerners, but they just can't do it--what a wonderful scene (unless I'm confusing it with another movie!)

TORLANDO said...

a somewhat impressive yet disgusting scene is the egg snowball. gross, like, how could the actors even do that scene without yacking, yet cool because the image of the egg traveling back and forth gave the japanese obsession with food a much more "intimate" representation, which while totally raunchy and inappropriate, was funny, gross and clever with symbols within symbols.