Features and Columns · Movies

Pain is Temporary, Food is Forever: The Themes of ‘Tampopo’

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Tampopo
By  · Published on October 17th, 2022

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that looks at the themes of perseverance and food in the movie Tampopo.


There are a number of incredible films focused on the vital role food plays in human life. Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers; Big Night; Eat, Drink, Man, WomanBabette’s Feast … Ratatouille. There’s a reason there are so many incredible films thematically grounded on the restorative importance of a good meal: food is a cornerstone of community, family, and self-care. It’s an expression of love. It’s a way that we take care of those around us. And like cinema, it’s a way that we express ourselves: bringing together different elements and talents to create a sum far greater than all of its component parts.

And you can’t talk about quintessential “food movies” without talking about TampopoDirected by Jûzô Itami (The FuneralA Taxing Woman), the 1985 film follows a widowed ramen chef (Nobuko Miyamoto) who is coached by a wandering stranger (Tsutomu Yamazaki) into becoming a world-class noodle-slinger. Interspersed throughout the film are genre-spanning vignettes musing on the different roles food plays in our lives.

If you haven’t sampled Tampopo‘s supremely silly and sumptuous goods, the following video essay will certainly stoke your hunger. You’ll never look at egg yokes the same way.

Watch “‘Tampopo’ – The Humanity Of Food & Perseverance”:


Who made this?

This video essay on the themes of sustenance and resilience in Tampopo is by You Have Been Watching Films. United Kingdom-based writer Oliver Bagshaw produces the channel, creating video essays on an assortment of movies, from cult to classic strains of cinema history. You can subscribe to their YouTube channel here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).