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| M O V I E   information |
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  Title................................: Ochazuke no aji 
  International title(s)...............: Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (USA)  Tea Over Rice (USA)  Tea and Rice  
  Director.............................: Yasujiro Ozu
  Release year.........................: 1952
  Language.............................: Japanese
  Runtime..............................: Japan:115 min  / USA:116 min 
  Genre................................: Drama
  Color................................: Black and White 
  IMDb rating..........................: 8.0/10 
  
  Subtitles............................: ENG OIptional

Source (DVD/DVDR 5,9)..................: Can't remember
Total movie's files size...............: 4.29GB

UK Tartan Release PAL
Extras & Menus included. Photo Gallery & Restoration 

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| Plot summary |
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Plot: 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.


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| Release note |
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By VINCENT CANBY
Published: January 25, 1973

Donald Richie, the Japanese-film expert, tells us that the late Yasujiro Ozu took meticulous care in his choice of settings, especially the small details that, according to Mr. Richie, were always intended to emphasize character rather than environment. This is true, but the passage of time has added an environmental significance to the details originally picked to give dimension to character.

In Ozu's 1952 film, "The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice" (another Ozu title to challenge Western patience even when his film does not), the environment that Ozu more or less took for granted, since he always made his films in their own time, seems now to play a more interestingΓÇöor at least more obvious partΓÇöin the drama.

All of the Ozu films we have seen in this country ("Tokyo Story," "Late Spring," "End of Summer," "Floating Weeds") have been social comedies, but they have been told entirely in terms of character. More than any of these other films, "The Flavor of Green Tea" looks as much like a social history as it does a classic Ozu work.

The movie, which opened yesterday at the Quad Cinema 3, is essentially a comedy, what the Japanese call a tsuma-mono, or wife film, about an upper-middle-class marriage, one that has been arranged in the old-fashioned way and now is falling gently apart as the childless couple approach middle age.

She (Michiyo Kogura) gives every indication of being a rather mean-spirited snob. Among other things, she sleeps apart from her husband in an awful American-style bedroom that seems to be constructed entirely of chintz.

However, he (Shin Saburi) gives every indication of being as thickheaded and boring as she says he is.

That is, at the beginning. The revelationΓÇöthe surpriseΓÇöof the film is not that they are eventually reconciled, but that they become such appealing characters, touched by a kind of nobility.

As important as the revelations of characterΓÇöto me anywayΓÇöis the casual picture of the world in which they occur. I am not sure if it is factually true, but I have the impression that more of this film is set in public places, that is, locations outside the home that is the emotional center of any Ozu film, than in the films of his released here earlier.

What we see of Japan in 1951 and 1952 defines the time in a fashion I am not sure I would have been as aware of had I seen the film in 1952.

It is a world only seven years removed from Hiroshima. Nobody in an Ozu film, seems directly affected by the American occupation, but the American influence is everywhere, in second-hand clothes, in cigarettes, in the liberation of women.

The world of this film is more geographically open than those of the other Ozus, but the economy of narrative and technique is practically quintessential. Ozu never wastes our interest on connecting scenes if we can take them for granted. When he does show us a man proceeding, say from one office to another, it becomes important, perhaps as an acknowledgment of time lost or as a sort of film equivalent to the white space between the chapters in a novel.

No one shrug or sigh or smile is more or less dispensible than another gesture, which explains why minor characters are so important in Ozu films.

One of the funniest and most moving scenes in "The Flavor of Green Tea" is the scene in which the operator of a pinball parlor (Chishu Ryu) talks gloomily about his success. "This is trash," he says in effect. "It degrades the national spirit," and then he goes on to remember, as if with nostalgia, the beautiful nights during the war in Singapore.

"The Flavor of Green Tea" is not great Ozu. There are timesΓÇöespecially in its subplot about a girl who refuses traditional wedding arrangementsΓÇöwhen it is almost formula comedy.

No true Japanese formula comedy, however, would punctuate its climactic reconciliation scene, set in the kitchen that the wife is discovering for the first time, with the image, seen only out of the corner of the camera eye, of a can of Wesson oil.


The Cast
THE FLAVOR OF GREEN TEA OVER RICE, directed by Yasujiro Ozu; screenplay (Japanese with English subtitles) by Mr. Ozu and Kogo Nada; director of photography, Yuharu Atsuta; produced by Shochiku/Ofuna Films; distributed by New Yorker Films. Running time: 115 minutes. At the Quad Cinema 3.
Husband . . . . . Shin Saburl
Wife . . . . . Michiyo Kogura
Niece . . . . . Kuniko Miyake
Boyfriend . . . . . Koji Tsuruta
Former Soldier . . . . . Chishu Ryu

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