Howdy do everybody, back on the VC with some new Japanese cinema. Although I still have Great White I plan to post, I figured I’d throw this one up first since I’ve been sitting on it longer. This is Katsuhito Ishii’s family drama from a few years back, those of you not familiar with him you may have heard of his films Sharkskin Man & Peach Hip Girl or Party 7. I was a big fan of both of those, and The Taste of Tea just reinforces my appreciation for the director. It’s another solid film in a completely different type of genre, and I’m sure the rest of his fans will enjoy it as much as I did.

The Plot: The Taste of Tea tells the story of a family unit. Father, mother, grandfather, uncle, elder son and youngest daughter. Each has their own unique dysfunctions and characteristics. Mother is a struggling artist who uses her father to do strange poses for her. Grandfather is a bit deranged and is often blurting out nonsense or singing. Father is a work-a-holic who likes to settle down at the end of the day and play a game called Go with his son, whilst being perfectly fine with all of this craziness going on around him. Uncle (Tadanobu Asano, Ichi the Killer, Party 7, Electric Dragon 80000 V.,) is a sound mixer who likes to wander around town and run into strange characters for the adventure of it. He tells wild stories to the kids and seems to be saddened by his loner position. The son is in a chase for love, as the film begins with his previous crush having left him via train and moving on to another city. When a new girl joins their class however, his heart may have mended as he attempts to woo her. The youngest daughter is perhaps most interesting of all, as she wanders along (sometimes with her uncle, sometimes alone) getting into her own adventures – with her giant version of herself following along. That’s right, she has a giant sized version of herself that only she can see that follows her everywhere she goes. Will she be able to get rid of this phantom, and if she does, does that mean she ceases to exist as well?

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