A wonderful film, on so many levels. And a big miss to have seen him only recently.
Yet the film is much more than a portrait of Jiro’s unprecedented perfection. It is also a family story, a tale of the slow handover of the restaurant to his older son Yoshikazu and the emancipation of his younger son Takashi, who runs his own restaurant in exactly the same tradition.
In addition, Jiro Dreams of Sushi is also a picture about the love for one’s profession, Jiro’s great desire to become a little bit better every day. For 70 years now, day after day, always following the same procedure.
Once you decide on your occupation… you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success… and is the key to being regarded honorably.
His perfection is evident not only in the selection of products (only the best fish, the best rice, no matter how elaborate its preparation), their preparation (it turned out that an octopus massaged for 60 minutes becomes slightly more tender than if massaged for only 30 minutes), the great craft, but also the always unobtrusive observation of his guests. Thus, the sushi are always imperceptibly and only marginally adjusted to the size, gender and appetite of the guest, so that all 10 people dining in parallel remain in the same rhythm. If Jiro recognizes a left-handed person, the sushi will be served to him the other way around in the future.
Significantly, David Gelb originally wanted to make a much more general film about the art of sushi, but was so fascinated by Jiro and his story that he changed his mind during filming and went into sukiyabashi alone. Fortunately.