Screen/Society--"Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice" (1952) | Yasujirô Ozu | New Restoration
"Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice"
(Yasujirô Ozu, 1952, 116 min, Japan, Japanese with English subtitles, B&W, DCP)
One of the ineffably lovely domestic sagas made by Yasujiro Ozu at the height of his mastery, "Flavor of Green Tea over Rice" is a sublimely piercing portrait of a marriage coming quietly undone. Secrets and deceptions strain the already tenuous relationship between a childless, middle-aged couple as her city-bred sophistication bumps up against his small-town simplicity, and a generational sea change-in the form of their headstrong, thoroughly modern niece-sweeps into their household. The director's abiding concern with the intricacies of family dynamics receives one of its most spirited treatments, enlivened by a wry, tender humor and buoyant expansiveness that moves the action from the home into the baseball stadiums, pachinko parlors, and ramen shops of postwar Tokyo.
"Yasujiro Ozu's delicate melodramas... avoid any sense of cliché in their restrained, sometimes painfully subtle study of family relationships." David Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Exquisite... very funny and very moving." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out (London)