Let’s see…“Big Night.” “Ratatouille.” What other films about food approach the sensation of satiation, of simple perfection? Why, the heaping, steaming masterpiece, “Tampopo,” of course! Long out of circulation since its 1985 release, Juzo Itami’s digitally restored “noodle Western” is a delight on every level. The almost-obscenely delicious “Tampopo” is knockabout comedy, a genre spoof or two, with relentless allusions to other movies inside its sketch structure, and most impressively, one of the most ravishingly realized of foodie movies. A band of “ramen ronin” meet to help a noodle-shop owner perfect the recipe her husband left her. Brightly colored, boldly played, “Tampopo” serves up inspired gags at the most unexpected moments alongside course after course of exquisite culinary joy. And even more toothsomely, food and fucking are intricately aligned. With Nobuko Miyamoto (Itami’s wife, poignant and dear), Tsutomu Yamazaki and Ken Watanabe. 114m. (Ray Pride)
“Tampopo” opens Friday, December 2 for two weeks at Siskel.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.