Cherry Blossoms (tbc)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner02/04/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 121 mins

Impressively directed, superbly written and profoundly moving drama with terrific performances from its three leads – you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll call your parents.

What's it all about?
Directed by Doris Dorrie, Cherry Blossoms stars Hannelore Elsner as Bavarian grandmother Trudi Angermeier, who learns that her stuck-in-his-ways husband Rudi (Elmar Wepper) has a terminal illness and decides not to tell him. She suggests that they visit their children (Birgit Minichmayr and Felix Eitner) in Berlin, but Rudi balks at visiting their youngest son, Karl (Maximilian Bruckner) in Tokyo, little realising that Trudi has always dreamed of visiting Japan and had once entertained thoughts of becoming a Butoh dancer.

However, when Trudi unexpectedly dies, Rudi learns of her love for Tokyo from his daughter's lover, Franzi (Nadja Uhl), and feels guilty for not encouraging her dream. Hoping to somehow make amends, Rudi travels to Tokyo and receives unexpected help from a young Butoh dancer (Aya Irizuki) he meets in a park.

The Good
The early part of the film takes its cues from the work of Ozu and it's no surprise that it's desperately sad in places with extremely powerful themes of guilt, grief and the lack of communication and understanding between generations. It's also rather upsetting to watch at times, especially in the scenes with the grown-up children, who behave like a right bunch of ungrateful bastards.

However, once Rudi moves to Tokyo, the film becomes something else, taking several bizarre turns (never has cross-dressing seemed so unbearably moving) and building to a powerfully emotional finale. It's also fair to say that even if you don’t see the point of Butoh dancing, you'll have a new appreciation for it by the end of the film.

The Great
The film is full of delightful scenes and the performances are wonderful, particularly Aya Irizuki as Yu, who's utterly charming; her relationship with Rudi is incredibly touching.

Worth seeing?
Cherry Blossoms is a well written, beautifully acted and emotionally powerful film that's well worth seeking out. It's also the sort of film that'll make you want to call your parents afterwards. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Cherry Blossoms (tbc)
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Content updated: 21/10/2017 12:57

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