The Film: 悪い奴ほどよく眠る [The Bad Sleep Well] – (Japan)
If you’ve read through Celluloid and Leftovers you can see that I am a huge Kurosawa fan. I’ve written about his collaborations with Toshiro Mifune which are some of my favorite foreign films. Each one goes to a new place, lives in a new world. I can see Kurosawa experiment with music here, tone there as Mifune alters performances to fit perfectly. They play with genre and eras, dive into history and push into the modern world. It’s exciting.
The Bad Sleep Well may be one of the first I’ve had such a hard time with. Kurosawa’s vision seems a little muddied, his focus feels torn between the emotional plot and the unfolding corporate thriller.
It was made in 1960, after the intense highs and lows of the more epic storytelling in The Hidden Fortress, Throne of Blood, Seven Samurai, and Rashomon, as well as the emotional peaks and valleys of Ikiru, Scandal, Stray Dog, and Drunken Angel. It feels as though The Bad Sleep Well is the first attempt to combine the styles but doesn’t quite mix. It is something which he wholly succeeds in with his later film, High and Low — a modern emotional thriller told with intensity.
In that way it reminds me of the film noir classic The Third Man. Not only in the whistling of a signature tune but identity, revenge, a long , strong but strange music choices, and odd pacing in unraveling the plot, the abrupt ending.
The subject of the thriller doesn’t unfold intensely and keep it’s grip on you like a Hitchcock film. On the other hand, the emotional side, the relationship between the bride and groom, is fantastic. It’s a shame the two sides couldn’t come together because it really would have been dynamite.
The Food: Sesame Soy Ramen Popcorn
For many, many years my family has made the delicious combo of Chinese Savory Beef and a deeply crunchy cabbage salad that contains a mixture of toasted almonds, sesame seeds, and ramen noodles which serves as my inspiration with this tasty snack.
There are a lot of recipes out there for sesame popcorn and many of them are either spicy or mixed with caramel or honey. I wanted a tangy popcorn with some good crunch with the movie tonight.
Set your oven to 400°. In a deep pot add:
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 cup corn kernels
- 1 teaspoon sugar
On medium heat. Add two or three tester kernels to the oils.
Once the testers pop, remove them and add the kernels along with the teaspoon of sugar. Watch it closely and shake the pot to prevent the sugar from burning the kernels.
After it’s popped, remove and sort. The popcorn should be a little sticky from the sugar, so be careful when you discard the unpopped kernels that there aren’t any stuck to the popped corn. As the popcorn cools it should be a little harder than normal popcorn. This is great as it means it won’t wilt when you add wet ingredients.
To a mixing bowl add:
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup broken ramen
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons soysauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil.
Toss to the popcorn in to coat.
Bake for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn noodles and seeds. Remove it from the oven and let it cool to harden.
If you don’t have almonds you can add peanuts. I also suggest padding out the recipe with some other treats like sesame sticks, wasabi peas, shrimp chips, rice crackers, or ribbon of nori. This would also really hold up well to some added heat like siracha or red pepper flake.