Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Winter 2013 Documentary series
April 10, 2013 at 7:00pm
Directed by David Gelb
Starring Yoshikazu Ono and Jiro Ono
Rated G ·
Japanese with English subtitles
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
“You have to fall in love with your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill.” – Jiro Ono
This charming documentary is the story of 85 year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious 3 star Michelin review, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimages, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro’s sushi bar.
For most of his life, Jiro has been mastering the art of making sushi, but even at his age he sees himself still striving for perfection, working from sunrise to well beyond sunset to taste every piece of fish; meticulously train his employees; and carefully mold and finesse the impeccable presentation of each sushi creation. At the heart of this story is Jiro’s relationship with his eldest son Yoshikazu, the worthy heir to Jiro’s legacy, who is unable to live up to his full potential in his father’s shadow.
The feature film debut of director David Gelb, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a thoughtful and elegant meditation on work, family, and the art of perfection, chronicling Jiro’s life as both an unparalleled success in the culinary world, and a loving yet complicated father. Gelb states: “What I saw in Jiro was not just his culinary technique—not just his work. I want to show people that sushi is so much more than putting fish on rice. Jiro has created an art form. And his philosophy is to always improve your craft, to always look ahead to the future. That is something that anyone can relate to.”
“It’s no surprise that the tall, spry, jokey Jiro is a perfectionist, but the film’s real allure is his obsession with simplicity: He has found magic in preparing the same elemental cuts, day after day, for 70 years. Director David Gelb pulls back the curtain on the kitchen rituals of sushi, inviting us to experience the savory-smooth sensation of ‘umami,’ roughly translated as ‘Ahhh!’” (Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly)
“Jiro Dreams of Sushi isn’t just a film for foodies, or Japanophiles. It’s a meditation on work, on finding one’s path in life, and then walking it with singular purpose.” (Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer)