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Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (1952)
"Ochazuke no aji" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  20 November 1964 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 1,042 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 11 critic

A childless middle-aged couple faces a marital crisis of sorts.

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Title: Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (1952)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shin Saburi ...
Mokichi Satake
Michiyo Kogure ...
Taeko Satake
Kôji Tsuruta ...
Non-chan / Noboru Okada
...
Sadao Hirayama
Chikage Awashima ...
Aya Amamiya
Keiko Tsushima ...
Setsuko Yamauchi
Kuniko Miyake ...
Chizu Yamauchi
Eijirô Yanagi ...
Naosuke Yamauchi
Hisao Toake ...
Toichiro Amamiya
Yûko Mochizuki ...
Shige Hirayama
Kôji Shitara ...
Koji Yamauchi
Matsuko Shiga ...
Toichiro's mistress
Yôko Kosono ...
Fumi
Kinichi Ishikawa ...
Company President
Yoko Osakura ...
Kuroda Takako (as Yoko Uehara)
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Storyline

Takeo, a capricious wife from Tokyo high-society, is bored by her dull husband, a quiet and reliable company executive raised in the country (Shin Saburi) After a crisis, she understands better his true value. A parallel sub-plot shows her niece rebelling against the tradition of arranged marriages. Written by phs

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

20 November 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Soundtracks

Love's Old Sweet Song
Composed by James Lyman Molloy
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User Reviews

 
Rikyu's Echo Bar
2 March 2014 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Ozu continues to unfold a worldview of melancholy joy. Here we are offered an insight of what informs this: the glum husband wants things that are 'intimate, primitive, familiar and relaxed', from his brand of cigarettes to pouring tea over his dinner of rice.

So it seems Ozu gravitates towards his camera and world not from deep introspection or need for formalism but towards an intuition.

The benefit is that he naturally envelops space. He doesn't construct it, each visual scene is a soft pencil-stroke tracing and re-tracing paths as a way of arriving at shape.

Some kind of life emerges. In the scenes of the wife lounging with her friends in a spa around a table with drinks and then lazily feeding the fish in a pond, or the two army buddies reminiscing about a beach in Singapore during war with its palm trees, a melancholy breeze blows through it carrying sense, life, contact, memory, evocation. Individually there are wonderful visual moments here, some of the best in his films.

(In all this, he's in line with the great tea master Rikyu's instructions about serving tea, whose name appears in the film. It should not be a lavish or formal ceremony, but sparse and intimate, looking for spontaneous appreciation of what two people relaxing in each other's presence can inspire. Serving tea is merely the opportunity, the framework for contact.)

The flipside of that intuitive approach is that it's enough for Ozu to sketch as he goes. The idea is that life is a bit like this, apparent only in retrospect. He does have in mind a larger transition: a marriage that has grown cold and distant, the lonely night of breaking them apart and, as the man's flight is unexpectedly cancelled, their coming together again in the empty house.

This is a great great notion, the idea that you can create an entire life and for this to slowly crystallize realization in a single moment between two people. It resembles more clearly than any of his other films where Cassavetes would take this mentality in his Woman.

Ozu had tried this several times. For whatever reason, probably a rushed production, he's not in control of it here. This is the most disjointed of his films, a real mess. The ending is possibly the worst work Ozu has done, the wife now enlightened about the purpose of marriage explaining to the young girl (and through her to young women in the audience).


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