Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
100 Greatest Characters
Your all-time favourite heroes and villains
Subscribe To Empire
Sign up now and save 44%
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Tsutomu Yamazaki
Nobuko Mikamoto
Koji Yakusho.
Directors
Juzo Itami.
Screenwriters
Juzo Itami.
Running Time
115 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Vacation
2 Star Empire Rating
Strange Magic
2 Star Empire Rating
Looking For Love
3 Star Empire Rating
Pressure
3 Star Empire Rating
Misery Loves Comedy
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Mad Max: Fury Road
5 Star Empire Rating

Tampopo
A stranger arrives to help a widow's ailing diner.


submit to reddit


Plot
On a mission to find the perfect noodle, Japanese trucker Goro alights upon the failing Lai Lai ramen shop in the outskirts of Tokyo and determines to turn its widowed fortysomething owner, Tampopo, into a mastercook.


Review

Having acted in films as different as Nicholas Ray's 55 Days at Peking and Koji Wakamatsu's The Notorious Concubines, Juzo Itami made his directorial debut with the gently subversive satire, The Funeral, in 1984. In collaboration with his wife, Nobuki Miiyamoto, he further lampooned Japanese society in A Taxing Woman and A Taxing Woman Returns before Minbo hit such a raw nerve within the yakuza community that many were convinced that Itami's mysterious death was a mob hit.

       Tampopo (from the Japanese for dandelion) was the least socially corrosive of Itami's pictures and its inspired movie pastiches have made it an enduring cult favourite. But Tsutomo Yamazaki's quest was primarily intended to explore the extent to which Occidental influences had pervaded Japanese culture and to restore a little pride in fast-passing traditions.

Itami stuffed his `noodle' Western with homages to the likes of Shane and the `spaghetti' works of Sergio Leone, as well as such chambara classics as Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, which were, of course, recast as the Westerns The Magnificent Seven and A Fistful of Dollars. Consequently, with his cowboy hat and long-horned truck, Yamazaki comes across as a hybrid of Alan Ladd, Clint Eastwood and Toshiro Mifune, who is as ready to rescue Miiyamoto from the bullies blighting her business as he is to sit at the feet of noodle master Ryutaro Otomo to learn the ancient rituals involved in the preparation and consumption of the perfect dish.

          But Itami refused to be tied down by his central storyline and he peppered the action with delightful diversions, which reinforced his contention that food was a sacred part of Japanese life that should not be profaned by the junk products whose speedy convenience mattered more than their gastronomic quality and socio-cultural significance. He even found room for a movie parody here, too, with gangster Koji Yakusho's foodie romps with mistress Fukumi Kuroda designed to mock the fetishistic eroticism of Nagisa Oshima's Ai No Corrida.


Verdict
Charming and touching, this film about the relationship between the widow and the trucker is a pleasant surprise. With its episodic structure keeping it from getting too repetitive, it keeps the story fresh and engaging. Plus there are lots of sumptuous meals to inspire you to get cooking.


Reviewed by David Parkinson

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Black Mass Trailer Breakdown With Director Scott Cooper
Find out what's what with Johnny Depp's take on Boston Gangster Whitey Bulger

The N.W.A-Team
Empire visits the set of Straight Outta Compton

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
Read Empire's official verdict

Empire Meets Joely Richardson
On Maggie, Arnie and Event Horizon

100 Greatest Movie Characters
The complete list of your all-time favourite heroes and villains

Vote Now For Your Favourite TV Shows
Pick your top five - if you can...

Paul Rudd Is Awesome
Being awesome: from Clueless to Ant-Man

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month!

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 67%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)