Sushi and Sustenance
Passing down the legacy of culture and food
Released in 2011, ‘Jiro dreams of Sushi’ is a sensitive look at family and food as director David Gelb gives the audience a look into the life of the world’s greatest sushi chef. Jiro is a humble chef who despite have only 10-seats in his subway station located restaurant has earned 3 Michelin stars, the highest honor in food preparation .
The film is a visual orgasm for the senses as shots of mouthwatering sushi and vinegared rice keeping coming frame after frame in a series of gourmet food porn that leave viewers hot and hungry by completion.
But the story is less about food and more about a life’s journey in the pursuit of daily perfection by the main character, Jiro, an 85-year-old father and chef who has been declared a national treasure by the government of Japan for protecting traditional food culture.
To appreciate the nuances of the documentary’s subtle themes it is important to understand the real goals of traditional hobbies and sports popular in Japan such as karate, calligraphy and tea ceremony to name a few. These activities are not short term competitive endeavors for fame and glory but rather lifetime pursuits of development and maturity. Talent is of course a factor in becoming ‘good’ at your sport or trade, but the more important lesson is that consistence and persistence will lead its student onto an honorable path of long-term self-improvement.
However for me personally the most POWERFUL part of the tale was the dynamic father-son relationship between a man who has been recognized for his priceless ability and a son who may never live up to his father’s immeasurable legacy. For every daughter or son following in the footsteps of greatness and legend there is the constant psychological struggle of never knowing if they’ve become their own person or simply a weak imitation of potent DNA. To explore the biological need for fatherly love and the social desire for individual professional recognition, the film does an excellent job of exploring the complicated nature of the relationship without forcing an opinion on its viewer.
For more on the film check out the website here