Can a marriage really be saved over a late night snack?
(1952) Flavour of Green Tea Over Rice
Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice is Ozu's attack on arranged marriage. The hero of this film, though a secondary character is Setusko, a young lady whom her family is trying to marry off, but she does not believe in arranged marriage, and refuses to even meet the man. Very rude, but she did tell them that she wouldn't meet him, and they arranged it anyway, so I respect her for that.
The other three women in the film all have dysfunctional marriages, that were of course arranged. Takaka's husband lives in France, Aya's is a liar and a cheat, and Taeko(our main character opposite her husband) and her husband are from seemingly different worlds and do not understand each other. She tries to dominate him, to varying degrees of success, and considers him to be to stupid for her to even try to hard when lying to him. Mokichi, the husband, and his friend Noburo, who is in love with the niece-Setsuko, are the only leading male characters in the film, while Chisu Ryo makes a cameo appearance as the owner of a pachinko den.
The ravine that Ozu has created between Taeko and Mokichi is deep, and while Taeko is simply frustrated and at times even hates her husband, Mokichi recognises the divide and tries to talk about it, to reconcile it, to no avail. Taeko basically runs away, and while she is gone Mokichi is told by his boss that he is to go to Montevideo in South America. Teako is out of town, so Setsuko and Aya see Mokichi off. When Taeko finally returns from her trip they scold her about it, but she still doesn't seem to care. Only when Mokichi returns because of engine trouble does the couple get to really reconcile their differences as they try to make their own meal so as not to wake the maids so late at night. The couple comes to an understanding, but I think its a bit temporary at best, and the other women certainly have no similar reconciliations with their husbands in the foreseeable future. In the end, I believe that Ozu is saying that arranged marriages are not ideal, and though with hard work, they can work-which is what Taeko and Mokichi will try to do, but often they are just doomed-like Aya and Takaka's marriages. So he ends the piece with the independent Setusko holding her own against Noburo advances...for now.