I'll admit that on the surface there's nothing terribly deep to this topic of discussion, which is fairly self explanatory. But there's something powerful in the well-composed film title that can evoke that visceral hunger in your stomach with just the right words. Words that represent foods you've tasted, tastes that trigger food memories that can water your mouth like a Pavlovian dog, trained to take notice subconsciously at the mere suggestion of an idea.
Such was my immediate response to this week's A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop (international title: A Simple Noodle Story), Zhang Yimou's colorful Chinese remake of the Coen brothers' Blood Simple. The film itself has little to do with food, save being set in a remote noodle shop and its adjoining estate, where a bitter old shop owner (Ni Dahong ) plots to kill his much-younger wife (Yan Ni) and the employee she's having an affair with (Xiao Shenyang). But the title -- simple, evocative, suggesting the elemental nature of all three of its parts -- well, it got me.
I love noodles, see. Yimou had me on the hook at "noodle shop," and thankfully he includes a single scene of noodle-making in his screwball thriller. In said scene we see the shop's three lowly, buffoonish employees spring to action as a dynamic noodle-making team: they roll the dough, flip and flatten it in the air between them like jugglers, slice the noodles into strips to cook, and cover the delectable thick slabs in steaming broth before serving them in comically giant bowls.
Just reading the title of Yimou's film brings back my memories of that scene, which in turn makes me hungry. Such is the power of the well-composed film title. With food and film on the brain, I offer seven more movie titles that make me salivate.