Tampopo, and Her Challenges with Ramen

People who helped Tampopo are drinking ramen soup at the end.

People who helped Tampopo are drinking ramen soup at the end.

Juzo Itami’s movie, “Tampopo” is a movie that is about challenges of a Japanese widow who is named Tampopo with ramen.  This movie is made with the main story that is about Tampopo’s challenges and some scenes that are satirized hypocrisy and vanity of that period’s people by using food.   The “Tampopo” is started with the man, Goro, who has his own thoughts of ramen.  He enters Tampopo’s store accidentally, and  Tampopo notices that he is a kind of master of ramen.  So, she pleads with him to make her store flourish.  Then, he decides to help her to make the perfect ramen, and their unusual training started.  In those many interesting scenes, the scene that people who helped Tampopo are drinking ramen soup at the end is the most important scene in the movie.

In the story, Tampopo has unique training with Goro to make the perfect ramen like moving a heavy pot, making ramen fast, and jogging.  Even though she really tries to make the most delicious ramen, she has some failures again and again.  Whenever she suffers from her failure, some masters of ramen help her, and she can improve to make the perfect ramen.  Her wish is for people to enjoy her ramen and  drink ramen soup at the end.  Before this scene, she already treated her ramen to people.  However, they said that there was something lacking in her ramen.  So, in this scene, by people drinking ramen soup, her wish completes perfectly.  In other words, this movie’s main purpose is concluded by showing this scene.

About the mise-en-scene, this scene has many points.  At first, the stage lighting is changed definitely.  Tampopo’s ramen store is usually dim because the ramen store represents Japan’s bubble era by metaphorically speaking.  When people eat her ramen, the stage lighting is still dim, but it is gradually bright.  Then, when people drink the ramen soup at the end and praise her ramen, the stage lighting changes very brightly.  By changing brightness, the audience can feel Tampopo’s pleasure and happiness of people who drink her ramen soup.  Music is also important role in this scene.  Like representing Tampopo’s tension and nervousness, the music also repeats a monotonous, high rhythm that is gradually fast.  And then, when people finish eating their ramen, the music is changed more lightly as to represent their expression.  By changing the music, the audience also feels relief like Tampopo.  The last important point in this scene is the camera shot.  At first, the camera concentrate on Tampopo’s worried face.  However, by changing the medium and long take shot, the audience can notice facial expressions change of the people who eat her ramen.

This movie includes some satires and funny stories.  However, even though people do not see the entirety of this movie, the audience can understand Tampopo’s expression of accomplishment with her challenge just by seeing this scene.  Therefore, this scene is the most important scene in the movie, Tampopo.


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