Cinema Sutra: Tampopo

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The movie: Tampopo is one of the great food movies of the last twenty-five years (along with Eat, Drink, Man, Woman; Babette’s Feast; and Big Night), and easily the one that most mixes eating and eros. Though the central characters are trucker/wiseman/ultra-connoisseur Goro, and the noodle master Tampopo, for our purposes, the main dude is a well-heeled gangster who goes from woman to woman and morsel to morsel.

The scene: In parting, our dapper bad guy decides to share an egg with his paramour — though not in the sense one normally might. Instead they pass the yolk back and forth — unbroken! — from mouth to mouth (look, ma, no hands!), creating a sublime visual and gustatory metaphor for the careful and tense build-up of erotic energy. When the woman finally pops the yolk in her mouth, letting the yellow fluid drip down her ball gown, I think you’ll have no trouble decoding the message. Ah, sweet release.

Note: This particular video clip also has a bonus scene of the gangster eating an oyster from the palm of a pubescent diver girl. Here, too, the liquids are all symbolic, like the drop of blood his cut mouth leaves on the bivalve. Great stuff.

What you need:
• An egg
• An oyster (for Part II)

The mechanics: As the scene so palpably demonstrates, keeping an egg yolk from breaking as you pass it to and fro requires some serious focus and tenderness. Note how each of them cradles it with their tongue as they receive, then delicately release it into the other’s mouth. Now that’s sexy!

Lesson we learn: Wash the shells! (No joke: though your chance of catching salmonella from a raw egg is estimated at only one in 30,000, it can be transferred by the shell as well as by the egg itself. And you’re also much less likely to get salmonella from organic eggs.) But much more importantly, we see the erotics of constraint, of gentleness, of teamwork, and of going just to the limit, but not over, not over, not over. Though some of us will also be turned on by the trangressiveness of the raw egg yolk itself, if the thought of it skeeves you out, you can replace it with a lychee or a liqueur-filled chocolate. And remember, the same level of attentiveness and precision that you use to keep the thing from breaking can be used for other acts in the boudoir — and for the relationship itself.

Click here to read — and learn — more in Nerve’s Hollywood Sex Scene Database.