Ryuichi Sakamoto, Tampopo

I’m glad I saw this movie

the movie isn’t animated and it’s from 1985, but these are nice contemporary covers and posters by Ping Zhu

After getting a trial on The Criterion Channel to watch Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, I watched Tampopo, a self-proclaimed “ramen western” (a play on spaghetti western). It was the food movie I’ve been looking for without knowing, a familiar comedic basis with bizarre interludes of people unrelated to the main plot characters and their relationships with food, ranging from uncomfortably erotic to dark-comedy tragic… I don’t even know how to describe all of it. Food is in everyone’s life, in every culture, but its pleasure differs across individuals. One of the first interludes shows a gangster sucking whip cream off his partner’s breast, and the movie ends with credits rolling over a gradual zoom of a baby breastfeeding. It’s a digestible, funny, joyous film but also leaves you kind of thinking, wait, what did I just watch? And also, dang, I want to eat.