Directed by David Gelb.
I’ll neither eat seafood nor pay hundreds of dollars per seat for the privilege of fine dining. Respect must be given, however, to Jiro Ono for drawing visitors to his special sushi experience in Tokyo. He may be reaching new peaks of fame as a octogenarian: he’s the oldest restaurant owner to earn the highly-coveted three Michelin Stars and gets to be a subject of this fine documentary.
Dreams features many slices of life running Sukiyabashi Jiro. Jiro ran away from home at a very early age and worked at sushi restaurants from an early age. Yoshikauzu, his elder son and also successor, helps him run the restaurant from day to day. Younger son Takashi runs the similar Roppongi Hills. The staff at Sukiyabashi Jiro exhibits very high standards in prepping the sushi. The apprentices work hard for their perfectionist boss: one made over 200 attempts at egg sushi before finally pleasing Jiro.
Even some of the vendors providing fresh fish for the Onos are eccentric. Later in Dreams, elder son speaks about the need for fish preservation due to high competition in the sushi business. Meanwhile, Jiro shows near-restlessness in his pursuit of being a great sushi chef. He will likely never retire willingly. One former apprentice discusses the issue of having a son who’s waiting decades for his opportunity to run the business.
David Gelb shows deep interest in and prevents viewers from getting distant from his subject. Finished sushi gets loving close-ups, Jiro spends time with old friends and visits his parents’ graves, and there’s plenty of praise of Jiro’s genius from gushing food critic Masuhiro Yamamoto. Yamamoto’s comparison of Jiro’s sushi with movements of classical music helps showcase the classical soundtrack. While the music is welcome, most of my appreciation for Dreams comes from Jiro’s story.
This is a must-watch for foodies exploring the possibilities of worldly eating. Jiro and the people around him are compelling figures that you don’t have to be a seafood lover to enjoy this movie. Recommended.