The Taste of Tea


Director: Ishii Katsuhito

Released in 2004.

The Taste of Tea offers glimpses into the lives of members of the Haruna family. They’re ordinary on the surface, but each one has hidden depths and strangeness. Aren’t we all like this? Thus, despite the surreal details and bizarrely comical scenes, it all feels as familiar as life.

The_Taste_of_Tea-003(N.B. That giant version of her own head that appears to the little girl, Sachiko (Banno Maya), would probably be seen by most as a metaphor for self-consciousness or self-doubt or being overwhelmed by life, but I liked thinking of head as literally appearing. We are all struggling with various difficulties and for Sachiko they may include self-doubt or just the garden variety anxieties of a child, but what if these fears took the form of a giant head? Would that make them even harder to deal with? Or would the head simply sum up just how hard growing up is? In the film, the presence of the head seems to allow Sachiko to focus on her fears and find a way to overcome them. Perhaps if our fears assumed a distinct shape instead of remaining unspoken or unexamined, we would be able to deal better.)

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