The Taste of Tea

Katsuhito Ishii's beguiling 2004 comedy revolves around an eccentric family living in a pastoral exurb of Tokyo: mom's an animator, dad's a hypnotist, their lovesick teen son excels at the board game Go, and their young daughter is shadowed by a giant version of herself only she can see. Verdant landscapes and cloud-dappled skies feed their imaginations, and key to the movie's delicate balance of whimsy and horror is a visiting uncle played by Tadanobu Asano (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi) whose ghost story taps into animist myth and sets the stage for a resurrected yakuza and a man-eating sunflower. “Weird but cool,” as one character says—yet the movie is also remarkably touching. In Japanese with subtitles. 143 min.

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