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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sean Kelly

Hot Docs 2017: Ramen Heads

Japan's king of ramen prepares for the tenth anniversary of his restaurant in Ramen Heads. Since opening his restaurant a decade ago, Osamu Tomita has been repeatedly voted the number one ramen chef in Japan. As the date of his tenth anniversary approaches, Tomita provides full access to his process of making thick broth and slurpable noodles. In addition, Tomita teams up with fellow top ramen chefs Shota Iida and Yuki Onishi to create a special anniversary dish for 200 lucky customers at his restaurant.

Japanese ramen dates back to the early 1900s, when it was adapted from Chinese noodle soup. However, it truly came to popularity as a "working man's meal," while Japan was recovering after the second World War. The dish has since become an obsession in Japan, to the point that Tokyo holds an annual Ramen Festival, where up to 500 bowls a day can be served by a single chef.

Ramen Heads is most interesting when it is focusing on Osamu Tomita, which includes many seductive and slow motion shots of the chef preparing his ramen. However, the film moves past Tomita, profiling other raman chefs and even giving a history of the dish. This suggests that there wasn't enough footage of Osamu Tomita's tenth anniversary to fit a feature film. Also, the narration comes off as somewhat monotonous, even though it might be just a language issue. Altogether, Ramen Heads works as food porn, even if the structure of the film is a bit of a mess.

7 / 10 stars
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Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).