Tea

A worthy entry in Dutch documentarian Frank Scheffer's collection of films about modern composers, "Tea" is about Chinese composer Tan Dun and the creation of his beverage-titled opera. Fests and musical venues should welcome pic's quasi-experimental boldness, well-suited to Tan Dun's cross-cultural fusion fare.

With:
With: Tan Dun, Xu Ying, Pierre Audi.

Aworthy entry in Dutch documentarian Frank Scheffer’s collection of films about modern composers (including Elliot Carter, John Cage and Frank Zappa), “Tea” is about Chinese composer Tan Dun and the creation of his beverage-titled opera. Chinese landscapes, ritual Japanese tea ceremonies, shadow puppet plays, formal staged performances and abstract swirls of color share equally in Scheffer’s eclectic system of visual notation. Though pic occasionally suffers from too much verbal explication, Scheffer again demonstrates his uncanny ability to visualize otherwise hidden, internal musical structures. Fests and musical venues should welcome pic’s quasi-experimental boldness, well-suited to Tan Dun’s cross-cultural fusion fare.

Tan Dun includes many unusual “organic” instruments in his orchestra. The sight of musicians splashing water, crumpling pieces of paper and knocking rocks together offsets the usual master shots of violin bows. Scheffer counterpoints the music’s aggressive, Western linearity with more meditative, oriental strains. But it is through fragmented views of the opera performance itself, through the varied, extreme angles dramatizing the murmuring of the chorus or the interplay of a duet, that Scheffer’s docu shines, a rare opera film driven by musical rather than narrative dynamics.

Tea

Netherlands

Production: An Allegri Film/AVRO/NPS production. (International sales: Ideale Audience, Paris.) Produced, directed by Frank Scheffer.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Melle van Essen, Peter Mariouw-Smit, Joost van Gelder; editor, Tom Fassaert. Reviewed at MOMA Premieres Series, New York, Jan. 19, 2005. English, Mandarin dialogue. Running time: 90 MIN.

With: With: Tan Dun, Xu Ying, Pierre Audi.

More Film

  • Sundance: Lionsgate Nabs U.K. Rights for

    Sundance: Lionsgate Nabs U.K. Rights for 'Colette' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Aworthy entry in Dutch documentarian Frank Scheffer’s collection of films about modern composers (including Elliot Carter, John Cage and Frank Zappa), “Tea” is about Chinese composer Tan Dun and the creation of his beverage-titled opera. Chinese landscapes, ritual Japanese tea ceremonies, shadow puppet plays, formal staged performances and abstract swirls of color share equally in […]

  • 'Hangover' Producer Scott Budnick Forms Good

    'Hangover' Producer Scott Budnick Forms Good Films, Endeavor is Lead Investor (EXCLUSIVE)

    Aworthy entry in Dutch documentarian Frank Scheffer’s collection of films about modern composers (including Elliot Carter, John Cage and Frank Zappa), “Tea” is about Chinese composer Tan Dun and the creation of his beverage-titled opera. Chinese landscapes, ritual Japanese tea ceremonies, shadow puppet plays, formal staged performances and abstract swirls of color share equally in […]

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg Talks Supreme Court

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg on #MeToo Movement, Her SNL Parody, and Supreme Court Retirement

    Aworthy entry in Dutch documentarian Frank Scheffer’s collection of films about modern composers (including Elliot Carter, John Cage and Frank Zappa), “Tea” is about Chinese composer Tan Dun and the creation of his beverage-titled opera. Chinese landscapes, ritual Japanese tea ceremonies, shadow puppet plays, formal staged performances and abstract swirls of color share equally in […]

  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

    'Jumanji' Leads International Box Office, Hits $768 Million Worldwide

    Aworthy entry in Dutch documentarian Frank Scheffer’s collection of films about modern composers (including Elliot Carter, John Cage and Frank Zappa), “Tea” is about Chinese composer Tan Dun and the creation of his beverage-titled opera. Chinese landscapes, ritual Japanese tea ceremonies, shadow puppet plays, formal staged performances and abstract swirls of color share equally in […]

  • 'Phantom Thread,' 'Darkest Hour' Shine as

    'Phantom Thread,' 'Darkest Hour' Shine as Oscar Nominations Loom

    Aworthy entry in Dutch documentarian Frank Scheffer’s collection of films about modern composers (including Elliot Carter, John Cage and Frank Zappa), “Tea” is about Chinese composer Tan Dun and the creation of his beverage-titled opera. Chinese landscapes, ritual Japanese tea ceremonies, shadow puppet plays, formal staged performances and abstract swirls of color share equally in […]

  • 'Jumanji' Stays Strong, Topping '12 Strong,'

    'Jumanji' Stays Strong, Topping '12 Strong,' 'Den of Thieves' With $20 Million

    Aworthy entry in Dutch documentarian Frank Scheffer’s collection of films about modern composers (including Elliot Carter, John Cage and Frank Zappa), “Tea” is about Chinese composer Tan Dun and the creation of his beverage-titled opera. Chinese landscapes, ritual Japanese tea ceremonies, shadow puppet plays, formal staged performances and abstract swirls of color share equally in […]

  • Colette

    Sundance: 'Colette' Sells to 30West, Bleecker Street

    Aworthy entry in Dutch documentarian Frank Scheffer’s collection of films about modern composers (including Elliot Carter, John Cage and Frank Zappa), “Tea” is about Chinese composer Tan Dun and the creation of his beverage-titled opera. Chinese landscapes, ritual Japanese tea ceremonies, shadow puppet plays, formal staged performances and abstract swirls of color share equally in […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content