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Film Review: Green Tea

Green Tea

Green Tea

Green Tea

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  • Image © 2010 Celeste Heiter

Based on the short story Adiliya by the River by Jin Renshun, Green Tea zooms in on the world of blind dating when successful businessman Chen Mingliang meets Wu Fang, an attractive but prim young graduate student. Instead of revealing personal information about herself, she begins telling him of her best friend, and of how she reads tea leaves and comes from a troubled family background.

Even from the first date, it is clear that there's more to Fang than meets the eye. Mingliang questions the veracity of her lurid tales and wonders whether she's really who she says she is. It doesn't help that Mingliang's best friend introduces him to Lang Lang, a beautiful nightclub singer who looks mysteriously like Wu Fang.

As Fang plays hard to get and grows increasingly evasive, Mingliang is irresistibly drawn to the exotic and seductive Lang, whom he is convinced is really Fang's alter ego. Strange...and stranger still, his interludes with the two women raise more questions than they answer, and as fascination spirals into obsession, Mingliang is convinced that the truth is in the tea leaves.

Masterfully directed by Yuan Zhang, Lijun Fang is both subtle and facile in the dual roles of Wu Fang and Lang Lang; and Wei Zhao brings depth and dimension to his character's transition from player to prey. And the film's title motif is illuminated by sparkling intermezzos that reveal the verdant microcosm within a simple glass of green tea.

With its oblique dialogue, elusive subtext, and suggestive cinematography, Green Tea is as enigmatic as it is alluring...An amuse bouche for the senses and a beguiling teaser for the psyche.

* * *

Available from Amazon

* * * * *

 

Published on 11/22/10

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