The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice

(Ochazuke no aji) お茶漬の味
Japan 1952. Dir: Yasujiro Ozu. 115 min. DCP

NEW RESTORATION! A subtle, exquisite — and exquisitely titled — study of an unhappy marriage, Ozu’s The Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice centres on a middle-aged, middle-class, childless couple in Tokyo who find that their (arranged) relationship has lapsed into dullness and routine. He (Shin Saburi) is a country-born creature of habit with simple, plebeian tastes (including a fondness for ochazuke, the rustic soup referenced by the title). She (Michiyo Kogure) is style-conscious and snobbish, bored by and often disdainful of her husband’s lack of sophistication. The arrival of a favourite niece (Keiko Tsushima), so full of hope for the future, acts as a catalyst for the return of grace and acceptance to their marriage. This lively, lovely, touching movie, one of Ozu’s most humorous, dates from perhaps the peak period of the master director’s esteemed career; his next film would be the magnificent Tokyo Story.

REVIEWS

"Ozu is the master of a difficult and austere style, in which the lack of camera movement sometimes speaks more than the elaborate techniques of his contemporaries."

Chicago Reader | full review