For director David Gelb, the inspiration for his masterpiece, Jiro Dreams of Sushi came at an opportune and fitting moment. As he told Indiewire the filmmaker had a different idea in mind when initially setting out to create his piece.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi was originally intended to showcase the work of sushi chefs across the globe, but that all changed when he actually met sushi master Jiro Ono at Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo, Japan. As soon as he sat down for his meal and interacted with Ono, it became clear to Gelb that he was in for more than just a satisfying plate of sushi. “I also found Jiro to be such a compelling character and such an interesting person,” he said, adding that the other part of the narrativeΓÇöthe relationship between Ono and his children is what really settled it for him.
When you sit down to watch the film on Blu-ray or stream it on Picture Box Films you might be led to believe it’s a slow-paced film about, well sushi. And you’d be right in making that assumption. The widely (and wildly) popular Japanese dish is the vehicle for Jiro but it’s Ono and his unrelenting quest that truly drives the movie for its breezy and highly enjoyable 81 minutes. We realise that it’s been around for nearly two years now, but people are still finding out about it given the very small theatre release and not necessarily huge promotion. Also, it’s never too late to share a timeless piece like this.
Jiro is an equally peaceful and inspiring watch, something you can watch over and over not just in attempt to truly figure out what makes Ono tick. It’s mostly about learning what makes yourself wake up every day and do what you do, be it your day-job, your passion or if you’re lucky enough, both. For Ono, he’s lucky enough to have found a job where he can blend his income source with doing what he loves. That is, of course, a bit of a rarity, especially when the world’s economy is so lacklustre that you pretty much make will take any job you can get.
Even so, Ono teaches you that you must make the best of what you can get, because who knows what could become your passion in life. For him, it’s obviously sushi, but it’s about more than simply preparing the food with the utmost skill. He remembers every detail about his customers, like which hand they use to eat so he can seat them accordingly. It’s those minor elements within the grander elements of the film’s message is the search for perfection that make Jiro so captivating and original. Equally enthralling is the different yet similar lives of his sons. There’s the younger Takashi, who left his father’s business to open a sushi restaurant of his own, and older Yoshikazu, a chef who even at 50 is still training to reach the level of 85-year-old father, boss and mentor.