Tampopo, a farce?!

Tampopo, farce?!

Tampopo, directed by Juzo Itami, is a comedy that focuses on a widow, Tampopo, who owns a rundown ramen shop. As the movie progresses she gets her business off the ground and becomes a successful ramen shop owner. Many of the characters as well as the scenes are a bit outrageous. They are exaggerated to a certain extreme in order to make a point.
One example is when Tampopo first asks Goro to become her teacher. Of course, this is after the fighting incident and Goro, as he is recuperating, gives small tips on how to prepare ramen and how to run a successful ramen shop. Yet when he is about to leave, Tampopo darts out the door behind him and literally is hanging off the side of the truck begging for him to teach her how to “master” ramen.

It was quite obvious that Goro was, you could say, destined to teach Tampopo because of all the improvements he made over his short stay. What was surprising though was the look on Goro’s face when Tampopo came out of nowhere and started begging hysterically. It looked as if he was considering not to teach her due to her lack of self-control. Yet due to all he has already done, why not complete his work? Then again, having a person hysterically beg you to teach them is hard to turn down. Tampopo’s character or rather her emotion at the time is exaggerated to a very high point. She makes it seem as if she wouldn’t survive without the help of Goro. Although she needs help at the start, she definitely holds her own as the movie ends.
When Tampopo just cannot seem to get her broth right, she looks as if she might just quit. Fortunately Goro recalls that he knows a so called “master” who lives with a group of vagabonds. When they find the master, the group of vagabonds is quite intimidating and Tampopo is at first reluctant to approach but soon decides to go along. The homeless are a bit rowdy and very outgoing which makes it a bit hard to relate to them but one of them actually has a connection with Tampopo’s son by making him a rice omelet. The way the homeless person made the omelet so quickly and efficiently was quite amazing. It just brings justice to the phrase looks can be deceiving.
Finally, when the master is brought away from the group of vagabonds, the next thing the group does is quite amazing. One person yells that they should say good bye and they end up singing good-bye in western chorale style. It was a very beautiful piece and it was sung very nicely. As they sang, close-ups of their faces were shown. You could see so much emotion that was almost painful to watch. Again, watching a group of vagabonds perform something so beautiful was very surprising. The farce here is that a low-class group is able to come together and perform something that is so high-class. The way the group of vagabonds was portrayed made this contrast even more exaggerated.


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