Sometimes a great documentary takes us to an unfamiliar world mainly for purposes of illuminating our own. Jiro Dreams of Sushi is remarkable in its detailed portrait of the life and craft of Jiro Ono, the finest sushi chef in the world. It focuses on his singular quest for perfection and his personal sacrifice of nearly everything else. But it manages to make riveting cinema out of 80 minutes worth of quiet kitchen work by getting to the heart of Japanese culture and how utterly alien it can seem to those of us living in the U.S. And it finds depth in the related story of Jiro’s eldest son Yoshikazu, more than 50 years old and still waiting for his father to retire so he can take over the family business as Japanese culture requires.
The film looks surprisingly cinematic on Blu-ray. Colors are rich and vibrant, especially given that most of it was shot in Jiro’s tiny, 10-seat restaurant in a Tokyo subway station, where no natural light comes through. About 40 minutes of extra footage from the cutting room floor takes us deeper into the mysteries of Jiro’s world.
Video: 1080p, 1.78:1. Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Extras: Audio commentary with director-producer David Gelb and editor Brandon Driscoll-Luttringer; deleted scenes; “Masters” deleted scenes; sushi gallery; theatrical trailer. Studio: Magnolia.
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