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Restored ‘Tampopo’ at the Nuart

Ken Watanabe and Ryutaro Otomo in a scene from “Tampopo.”

Ken Watanabe and Ryutaro Otomo in a scene from “Tampopo.”

Juzo Itami’s “Tampopo” (1985) will be shown from Oct. 28 to Nov. 3 at the Nuart Theatre, 11262 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Los Angeles.

Rediscover the joys of this hilarious “noodle western,” perhaps the most popular Japanese comedy ever released in the U.S., in this new digital restoration.

Goro (Tsutomu Yamazaki, “Departures”), a tough noodle-loving cowboy-truck driver, stops in on his way to Tokyo at a ramen restaurant run by Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto, “A Taxing Woman”), a sweet young widow whose heart is in the right place but whose noodles are lacking.

When Goro criticizes the cuisine, a brawl breaks out. Awakening on the floor of the restaurant, Goro is beseeched by Tampopo to help her save her failing business, and he chivalrously agrees.

Together they set out on a quest to create the perfect noodle, aided by an odd assortment of characters who impart their noodle know-how along the way. There is a white-suited gangster (Koji Yakusho, “The Eel”), who celebrates food and sex in erotic encounters with his girlfriend, and the old man who describes all the steps needed to enjoy perfect ramen (which include thanking the noodles).

The cast also includes Ken Watanabe (“Letters from Iwo Jima”) and Fukumi Kuroda (“Banana, Gloves and Whale Shark”).

Writer-director Itami (1933-1997) was also known for such films as “The Funeral,” “Tales of a Golden Geisha,” “Minbô no Onna,” “The Last Dance,” and “Woman in Witness Protection.” Miyamoto, his wife, starred in most of his movies.

Showtimes: 1:30, 4:15, 7 and 9:35 p.m. For more information, call (310) 473-8530 or visit

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