Jiro Dreams of Sushi (U)


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The Independent Culture

"Never complain about your job," says Jiro Ono, 85-year-old sushi chef and subject of David Gelb's affable documentary portrait. Few have honoured their calling as he has, refusing to take a holiday and aiming for a culinary perfection beyond the reach of most mortals.

Jiro's restaurant is a modest one located near the Ginza subway station in Tokyo. It has only 10 seats, the loo's outside, and a meal that may take no more than 15 minutes to eat costs $300 a head. Eek! It has also earned, uniquely for its type, three Michelin stars.

The film invites us to watch a master at work, carving and sculpting the fishy flesh, swabbing it with oil, then watching as it's consumed – not the most relaxing experience for the diner, but then you're eating the finest sushi known to humanity. His sons have been trained in the job: the younger runs the sister restaurant, while the older has been preparing to take over his father's place (it's been a long wait).

Jiro put paid to their plans for college – "I wasn't much of a father," he admits – though they all seem fond. Best to have somewhere booked for dinner after this, because raw fish has never looked so mouthwatering.