The Path

Clinton Bergum
32 minutes


Throughout this film the spectator is invited to participate and get a direct experience of the Japanese "Sado" ceremony, the art of drinking tea.

"Tea is no more than this, first you see to that the water boils, then you put the tea into it, and after that you drink it in the correct manner. This is all you need to know." This quote from the teamaster Rikyu makes it sound simple. How difficult it really is we experience through this closely filmed study of the Japanese tea ceremony.

This is a film on many levels. On the surface level the film reconstructs a tea ceremony in early Fall that includes the serving of thin tea. On another level the film gives a look into sado - the Japanese art of drinking tea. In this context the purpose of the tea ceremony is to strengthen the soul - a function of all Japanese craftsmanship. Finally, the film also gives a hint of the underlying sensibilities that characterize traditional Japanese culture. The viewer is asked to experience the tea ceremony directly. Rikyu says: "The one who wishes to walk the path of the tea must become his own teacher. One can learn only through exact observation."

Suggested readings: 
Japanese arts and the tea ceremony / by Tatsusaburo Hayashiya, Masao Nakamura and Seizo Hayashiya ; translated and adapted by Joseph P. Macadam. New York : Weatherhill, 1974.