Film Clip: Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Rated 4.0

Jiro Ono is widely reported to be world’s best sushi chef, and as this documentary reveals, he sets an elegant if also daunting example for devotion to deliciousness. The title of director David Gelb’s reverie does not exaggerate, and the unexpected elation of Jiro Dreams of Sushi comes from being made hungry not just for the master’s creations—yeah, good luck getting a reservation—but also for the pride and glory of artisanal excellence. The film’s prevailing aesthetic is slow-motion austerity, with many shots of highly skilled hands at work and glistening fish-flesh closeups, plus glimpses of family history, supplier subcultures, and other useful bits of context. As compelling as the man himself is Jiro’s patient and industrious staff, not least the older son, still an apprentice at age 50, who works by his side and evidently forever in his shadow. Pleasure taken seriously does have its consequences, but they also include a reciprocity of zeal. Certainly, by now, sushi dreams of Jiro, too.