True Films

All In This Tea


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Take something as simple and ordinary as tea, then dig deeply into its roots to show that it is far more complex, subtle, varied, challenging and interesting than you would have ever believed. That’s the recipe for a delicious documentary, and this one delivers. A fanatical tea drinker in California becomes a connoisseur of fine teas, and then goes on to restore now forgotten traditions of organic artisan tea growing in China. Along the way he reveals the fascinating intricacies of how tea is hand-crafted, almost like a bottle of wine. This low-key journey into the hinterlands of China will completely transform your idea of tea.

– KK

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All In This Tea
Les Blank, Gina Leibrecht
2007, 70 minutes
$2, Amazon Instant Video rental

Official website

Read more about the film at Wikipedia

Rent from Netflix

Available from Amazon

Posted December 20, 2012 at 5:00 am | comments


Being Elmo


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This is another one of those films that is far more interesting than the title would suggest. It follows the unlikely trajectory of a black kid from the tough side of Baltimore who finds his genius as the invisible soul of a furry puppet with a high voice on public TV. In a flash of inspiration after many decades of struggling as an unknown puppeteer, Kevin Clash re-invents Elmo as a being who radiates unconditional love, and thus elevates this overlooked character (and himself) into universal stardom. (After this film was released Clash resigned over sexual accusations, but it does not detract from brilliance of his creations, or his impact on our culture.) The insight offered in the film that even puppets have to be ABOUT something, was worth the ride for me. It is also a pretty good view into the dynamics of what makes the foam Muppets believable as beings.

– KK

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Being Elmo
Constance Marks
2011, 96 minutes
DVD, $13

Official website

Read more about the film at Wikipedia

Rent from Netflix

Available from Amazon

Posted December 13, 2012 at 5:00 am | comments


Jiro Dreams of Sushi


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The Tokyo sushi chef Jiro has done the same thing at work every day for 60 years, no vacations, no holidays. He says he has loved every day of this repetition. The secret to his happiness is that everyday he tries to make his sushi even better than the day before. According to his customers he succeeds since his tiny 10-seat shop in a subway station is sold out a year in advance at $300 per meal. This documentary is an insightful and inspirational portrait of a craftsman seeking mastery, and the quest for perfection. Jiro’s life is now an inspiration for others following mastery as a way to find their passion. Oh, and the film is also a tremendously great view of the quality of work that world-class sushi really entails. You’ll look at sushi differently now. This is a deliciously perfect film about a perfect craftsman.

– KK

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Jiro Dreams of Sushi
David Gelb
2011, 82 minutes
$1, Amazon Instant Video rental

Official website

Read more about the film at Wikipedia

Rent from Netflix

Available from Amazon

Posted December 6, 2012 at 5:00 am | comments