food in the arts




Dir: Juzo Itami  / Writing credits: Juzo Itami

Nobuko Miyamoto, a female chef, runs a noodle bar in downtown Tokyo, undistinguished until a passing stranger offers to initiate her into the secrets of irresistible 'noodlery.' Like Itami's other satirical scrapbooks on contemporary Japanese life (one on funeral rites and the other on income tax), this is partly a disquisition on national character and customs, and partly a satire on movie styles. But it's also a funny, modern exploration of the familiar equation between sex and food, with dishes to seduce, to arouse, to satiate and to assuage. All human passion, Itami suggests, can be expressed through pork noodle recipes and rituals.

Incredibly funny, fascinating, erotic, and touching, the entire movie is about food.  Sex, death, birth, all the human emotions play out against noodles, eggs, soup and the really important things in life. The meat of the story is genre satire "noodle western" (you'll understand) and the dish is spiced with vignettes that only a bizarre and lovable mind could have thought up. This movie is beautiful.


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