Jiro Dreams of Sushi
What is perfection? A horizon that beckons and never arrives. Artists, not wishing their search to end, are grateful. After 75 years in the trade, Tokyo sushi-genius Jiro Ono, 85, remains gloriously unsatisfied. In Jiro Dreams of Sushi, he still faces the customers (no more than ten, at up to $300 each). He slices and folds and pats and arranges the morsels of paradise, with rice like a heavenly cloud. Folks, these are not fish sticks.
David Gelb’s documentary watches the ritual process, from the market selection of the finest tuna, shrimp, etc., to the Zen-fine cutting, cooking, and saucing. Apprenticeship can take a decade (one precious task is to massage the octopi for half an hour). As a side dish, we learn that Jiro was a tough kid whose alcoholic dad left early, that he kicked smoking, and that son Takashi waits patiently to take over the little basement temple of tasties.
Gelb, like entranced food-critic Masuhiro Yamamoto, is addicted. His approach imitates the clean, spare, artful, slightly erotic precision of the food. If you don’t start mentally consuming sushi while watching, well, good luck with popcorn.
Reviewed in the movie capsules: Casa de Mi Padre; Footnote; Jeff, Who Lives at Home; October Baby.