No Class-difference in Tampopo


Everyone is equal and no class-difference in front of food, which is the main point and significant information that I receive from the film, Tampopo.

Tampopo, which directed by Jūzō Itami in 1985, is a comedy film that tells a story about a single mother, Tampopo, is apprenticed to a freight drivers, Goro, and eventually recreates the unadulterated taste of ramen.

In the screen, the huge white sheeted table is in the middle of the picture and cuts the picture into two parts, which make the scene much more like an official meeting instead of having dinner. It is intriguing to set Eastern dinner etiquette in this Western culture room. The table is actually the line that differentiates the two classes of people. It implies the boundary of different social classes. In the culture of Eastern, distinguished guests should sit facing the door to show that they are respected. Simultaneously, the order to take a seat should be considered deliberately.

Back to the scene, the left hand side is the host and the right hand side is the guests who are much elder and seem like more dignified. Meanwhile, the clerk is grabbed in the collar by his boss and not allowed to take a seat before all other upper status people seated. In the previous screen, the clerk was hit in the head by the boss when he drops the documents. The scene is so funny and makes audiences laugh. However, deeply, the director Jūzō Itami arranged the clerk’s embarrassed designedly to compare with what will happen next, which in my mind is the incomparable chapter in the film.

All the worshipful guests are speechless when they see the mysterious language, French, on the menu. Visibly, they have no idea how to order French cuisine and the only thing they can do to be that follow some others to make their order. Then their faces turn to red when the pusillanimous clerk is so conversant with the French cuisine and reads the menu as easy as counting the trees in his yard. When the clerk starts his order, the boss sits next to him tries to stop him from humiliated himself. Then the upper social status people realize that the humiliation is on their own. They stare at the clerk and cannot say anything. Not just the roles in the film are astonished; all of the audiences, including me were totally shocked when the words, quenelle, boudin, caviar, escargot, pastry and fond-de-veau come out of the clerk’s mouth, because we were so judgmental by his appearance and social status. This exactly what the Jūzō Itami wants to show and he uses the film, Tampopo, to teach the audiences a lesson, which is do not judge someone by appearance or social status because everyone is equal and no class-difference in front of food.  Anyone who seems unimpressive can be an expert in some special area that people may never imagine.


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