The Taste of Tea
Standard: HKD 85
Concessions: HKD 68
The Taste of Tea
As the taste of tea varies depending on the leaves in the pot, from bitter with the black and aged to fresh with the green and young, the film offers a sip of everything by following a multi-generational family living their simple lives in rural Japan. The Haruno family consists of five members, each with their own quest: a quirky grandpa who is a retired manga artist and enjoys pranking his grandkids by wrapping them in the shape of onigiri, a stay-at-home mom trying to make a comeback as an animator after giving birth to two kids, a hypnotherapist dad providing for the family, a 15-year-old son pursuing his first love, and a five-year-old daughter attempting to do a backflip so she can get rid of the gigantic version of herself that keeps watching her.
The close-knit family is visited by the urban dwelling uncle Haruno Ayano, played by Asano Tadanobu, who spends quality time with each member as he shares his childhood memories of being haunted by a deceased yakuza, while trying to settle a past relationship with his ex-girlfriend, then going on to create the brain-melting ‘Mountain Song’.
Not only regarded as a surreal version of Fanny and Alexander (1982) by beloved Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, The Taste of Tea was also selected for the 2004 Cannes’ Directors Fortnight. Featuring animation, music, and dance, the layered storyline and absurdist humour offer light-hearted fun for all. It is best enjoyed on a weekend afternoon amid the summer heat.
About the Director
Katsuhito Ishii (b. 1966, Japan) is a Japanese director best known for The Taste of Tea (2004), Funky Forest (2005), and Smuggler (2011). Ishii started his directing career with commercials in 1992. He proceeded to direct his first short film, The Promise of August (1995), then participated in Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003) as animation director and character designer. Other than Cannes' Directors Fortnight, The Taste of Tea was also screened in Hawaii International Film Festival and Belfort Entrevues Film Festival.
Image at top: Katsuhito Ishii. The Taste of Tea, 2004. Photo: Courtesy of The Klockworx Co., Ltd.