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The Taste of Tea (Cha no Aji)

Katsuhito Ishii
2004, Japan, 143 minutes
www.chanoaji.jp

Roxie Cinema

2/6, 930P Buy
2/10, 930P Buy
2/14, 930P Buy

“Masking a very unconventional movie under a totally conventional title.… this is a movie with no boundaries to its imagination.” - Variety

Idiosyncratic animator/director Katsuhito Ishii is already familiar to IndieFest audiences. In 2002 he introduced us to Captain Banana, the Peeping Tom superhero in the bizarre (and hugely underrated) Party 7. Others might know him from his first film, the ‘Tarantinoesque’ romantic-crime-comedy Sharkskin Man and Peach Hip Girl starring cult favorite Tadanobu Asano (Ichi the Killer, Party 7, Takeshi Kitano's Zatoichi ). Quentin Tarantino was at the US premiere, loved the film and took Ishii drinking until dawn. He later hired him to create what is undoubtedly the Ishii’s most famous work - the striking O-Ren Ishii animated sequence in Kill Bill Vol. 1. The two maverick directors crossed paths again in Cannes when Tarantino chaired the 2004 Jury and The Taste of Tea was selected to open the prestigious ‘Director’s Fortnight’ section.

Nobuo Haruno runs a hypnosis practice in Tokyo, his wife Yoshiko works at home on an animation project, teenaged Hajime has recently fallen for his classmate Aoi, and six year-old Sachiko is being observed by a giant double of herself and wild-eyed grandpa Akira, carries a tuning fork to hone his vocal pitch. When Yoshiko's brother, Ayano (Tadanobu Asano) visits from the big city it gets really strange. Keep an eye peeled for rising stars Ryo Kase and Akemi Kobayashi who both star in Party 7 and Antenna.

- Bruce Fletcher

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