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
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
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
"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