Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Rated PG 81 min. 2012

“Elegant” is not a word I can imagine using very often for a documentary, but it’s the word that immediately came to mind after watching David Gelb’s Jiro Dreams of Sushi. I suspect that has more to do with Jiro Sushi himself and Gelb’s use of music on the soundtrack than with the film. Looked at simply as a movie, it is pretty much of the straightforward variety. Still, the whole package comes across as elegant — and, really, any documentary that can make sushi interesting for 90 minutes clearly does something right. In essence, this is a movie about Jiro Ono, an 85-year-old sushi master who has been at his craft/trade/art for 75 years and who owns and operates a famous, fabulously successful 10-seat sushi bar in a Tokyo subway concourse. How famous and how successful? Well, it has a Michelin three-star rating (the first sushi bar to get that), it’s booked a month in advance, and prices start at 30,000 yen (about three hundred bucks). As remarkable as all that is, you have to realize that the film has nailed this down early on, so what’s surprising is how it turns out that there really is 90 minutes worth of material here. It offers us a portrait of the fully obsessed Jiro (“You have to fall in love with your job”) and his two sons, Yoshikazu and Takashi. It all makes for a surprisingly engaging film to spend time with these fascinating, appealing men whose lives are devoted to a craft that requires years, even a lifetime, to master. This is definitely a documentary worth checking out.

Film Credits

Official Site: www.magpictures.com/jirodreamsofsushi

Director: David Gelb

Producer: Kevin Iwashina, Matt Weaver, Tom Pellegrini and David Gelb

Cast: Jiro Ono

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Jiro Dreams of Sushi

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