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Juzo Itami in Film Industry

Ososhiki was a very big hit in Japan. Funeral would later be distributed in the United States after the international success of itami's second directorial effort, Tampopo. The word means "Dandelion," and the film is a satire about the gourmet boom of the 1980s in Japan. the film draws on traditions of the film Western, though it is set in contemporary Japan:

It was called "the first noodle western" because it was set in a downandout cheap ramen (instant noodles) joint. A truck driver falls for the proprietress and shows her how to transform her dump into a gourmet rendezvous priding itself upon serving the best bowl of ramen in town. True to the best western movie tradition, he drives off into the sunset (Kirkup, 1997, 16).

The film was a big hit in France, where all the little ramen shops catering to the Japanese in the Opera area began to boom and served many foreign customers.

Itami had a string of satirical successes, all starring Itami's wife, and all dealing with various controversial themes, such as money in A Taxing Woman (1987) and A Taxing Woman Returns (1989), sex in Good Luck Girl (1990), and gangster violence in GangFighting Woman (1992). The latter film brought Itami serious trouble when the yakuza mob retaliated by sending five hit men to attack him with knives. They inflicted severe wounds, but Itami recovered and went on to make even more disturbing films like The Great Patient (1995), a comedy on stomach cancer as well as a profound meditation on death, and Supermarket Woman (1996) revealing hidden supermarket malpractices. He also made A Quiet Life (1995) based on the writings of his friend Oe (Kirkup, 1997, 16).

Misfortune continued to follow Itami, however, and during a showing of The Great Patient, an ultrarightist slashed the screen in protest against Itami's alleged defilement of the Japanese flag in a film. The police then provided armed guards for Itami and his wife. Itami's self...

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