There is nothing more compelling, fascinating, inspirational than watching someone excel at their passion: Julia Child in the kitchen, Bobby Fisher at a chess board, Michael Jordan on the basketball court or Jiro Ono, the sovereign of the sushi bar; at 85 his obsession with his profession eliminates complacency, questing daily for improvement, he is messianic in his devotion and love of his craft.
Sushi does not rank on my craving scale; this documentary is an enticement to revalue my taste buds; birthing a fantasy of making a reservation a year in advance, flying to Tokyo, savoring the delicacies served at “Sukiyabashi Jiro’s” ( in possession of a coveted and rare Michelin Guide three-star rating)) ten-seat restaurant in a subway station. What fun experiencing the dedication of the fish merchants, a touch and a whiff determines the quality of the merchandise; the tenacity of the apprentices who “study” for ten years before graduating; it was mesmerizing viewing the forty minute massaging, tenderizing of the octopus; sifting of the rice. Perfection, the only, lonely, all- consuming, commandment.
Jiro and his sons Yoshikazu and Takashi are artists, their fingers pirouette, pas de deux , like Baryshnikov, defy the mundane, conquer the extraordinary; a transformation from benign to sublime; unremarkable tuna, magically revolutionized, like Cinderella, exhibited on a ceramic plate instead of a crystal slipper. Elegant compositions by Max Richter and Philip Glass accompany the skilled disciples of sushi.
David Gelb’s “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” immortalizes a hero, an icon who for over forty years, has never deviated from his path, detests holidays; has climbed beyond the pinnacle but still searches for the illusive scent, delicious taste of the sushi in his dreams.