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Cherry Blossoms

Cherry BlossomsCherry Blossoms is not only an
  emotionally tense and moving story
  of a long-married couple who have
  to come to terms with mortality, but
  it is also a tale of an unlikely and
  valuable bond that comes in the wake
  of tragedy and human failings...”

DEVASTATED TO FIND THAT HER BELOVED HUSBAND Rudi (Elmar Wepper: Lammbock, The Fisherman And His Wife) is suffering from a terminal illness, and not wanting him to know that he does not have long to live, Trudi (Hannelore Eisner: Die Endlose Nacht, Vivere) decides they should see more of the world in the time they have left together. She convinces Rudi that they should go to Berlin to visit their daughter Karolin (Birgit Minichmayr) and son Klaus (Felix Eitner).

But Karolin is wrapped up in her life with partner Franzi (Nadja Uhl) while Klaus and his wife Emma (Floriane Daniel) lead a busy life revolving around work and children. The sad truth is that their son and daughter see Trudi and Rudi as an inconvenience they have no time for.

Klaus and Karolin also harbour resentment against their brother Karl (Maximilian Brückner), who lives in Tokyo. Trudi had always longed to go to Mount Fuji and to see the cherry blossoms, but Rudi dismisses a visit to Japan.

The couple are shown the sights of Berlin by Franzi but, hurt by the indifference of their children and grandchildren, Rudi decides to go home. Trudi persuades him to go to a hotel at the beach, where he innocently ponders upon how much time they have left together. Tragically Trudi dies in her sleep, leaving a grief-stricken Rudi to cope alone and reflect on how little he knew his wife, who would have loved to have learned to dance Butoh in Japan but instead gave up her dreams for her family.

Although the three siblings deeply regret their mother's passing and suffer guilt and shame, they still fail to support Rudi and only Franzi is able to share with him her memories of Trudi in Berlin. Having decided to go to Japan in honour of his wife, Rudi finds that Karl is willing to make but a few changes in his life for his father.

In Japan, Rudi connects himself to his dead wife but loneliness sees him seeking out a lap-dancing club and a bath-house. When he and Karl go to the Cherry Blossom Festival, Rudi is fascinated by a Japanese dancer and learns that cherry blossoms are 'the most beautiful symbol of impermanence'.

Karl accuses his father of having locked himself away in the office and of not understanding his wife. Rudi's mantra — "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" — was part of his rigid routine of a life that takes on a new meaning when he discovers a lone Butoh dancer in the park.

The young woman, Yu (Aya Irizuki) spends time with him, explaining the art of Butoh. She dances with him, shows him the shadows that dance and tells him how she communicates with her dead mother. Although only 18 years old and homeless, she understands him and helps him to cope with life in Tokyo.

Will Rudi make his pilgrimage to Mount Fuji? Will he have the chance to reach an understanding with his children? Cherry Blossoms is a beautiful, poignant and heartfelt story of how we can live and yet not live; and it is a harsh lesson of valuing parents while you still have time. There are some superb images and clever use of pools of light in darkness. The film contains a short sequence of explicit female nuditity.

The Butoh Dancer is Tadashi Endo, who was also responsible for the delightful choreography. The film also features: Walter Hess; Gerhard Wittmann; Veith von Furstenberg; Uwe Schmelter; and Zafer Cilingir. The emotive Music is by Claus Bantzer.

Inspired by Yasujiro Ozu's Tokyo Story, acclaimed German filmmaker Doris Dörrie's multi-award-winning Cherry Blossoms (Kirschblüten: Hanami) is a tender consideration of life, death, love and the realities of family life. After a limited, highly acclaimed theatrical release, Cherry Blossoms is released on DVD, courtesy of Dogwoof, on 12 October (2009). RRP: £14.99 | DVD Extras: Cast and director interviews.

"Cherry Blossoms is a beautiful, poignant and heartfelt story of how we can live and yet not live; and it is a harsh lesson of valuing parents while you still have time" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar

"…a quiet, very beautiful film about the duality of love and death" — The Observer

"Unpredictable and compelling" — Total Film

"With a denouement as uplifting it is heartbreaking, Cherry Blossoms is a beautiful celebration of the impermanence of love and the importance of intimacy and the liberation that can be found in new beginnings" — Publicity for Cherry Blossoms