Review: ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’

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On Sept. 11, students spent the day watching three documentaries during the school’s first Documentary Film Festival. One of the first films to start the day off was Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The film dug into the art of sushi, as well as what makes a person achieve excellence in life.

The former part about sushi was expected, beautiful, and mouthwatering. But what was far more interesting was the heavy focus on human ambition. Jiro, who worked daily at his humble restaurant until his late 80’s, brought up countless times in the documentary the biggest deciding factor for what makes a person successful. It was quite inspiring, and it turned out to be very relevant to students.

In Jiro’s words, life is only meaningful when people are able to find a passion and strive to master their skill. It’s also important to Jiro that people genuinely love what they do, not to just make money. But what separates the greats from the rest is having the quality of diligence. Jiro really emphasized how important it was for him to never be satisfied with his work. He spotted faults in himself, and he looked to evolve. He never mastered his skill in sushi, believing that a limit to improvement and refinement does not exist.

All of what Jiro believes in should apply to students as well. Students should discover a passion and work at it. We shouldn’t float through our precious lives without direction and ambition. To Jiro, we would be wasting our lives.

The film was one of the most beautiful films of the day. It was simple: it didn’t have to do with corruption or sexual abuse, it was about fish. It contemplated life, and hopefully inspired us to make our own lives meaningful, to fill us with ambition and strive for excellence.

One thought on “Review: ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’

  1. I have seen this a few years ago, and it is a beautiful film indeed.
    However, in a typically Japanese fashion (even though it was directed by a Western director), there is a lot of human
    drama lurking below the smooth and calm surface. The film is finely layered, and has a lot of hidden narratives about social structure and choices.

    Consider the ending of the movie, as Jiro narrates something along the lines ‘[My son’s] path is laid out for him, he only needs to follow it’. Simultaneously the camera cuts to his son’s face, does it look happy? There is a subtle strain there. Did the child ever get a real chance to develop his own interests and passion? What did it feel like to grow under a shadow of such an uncompromising father? If I remember correctly there was a soundtrack as well that gave clues to his inner turmoil.

    Definitely worth watching twice.

    Liked by 1 person

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