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Cherry Blossoms
     

Cherry Blossoms

5.0 4
Director: Doris Dörrie, Elmar Wepper, Hannelore Elsner, Nadja Uhl

Cast: Doris Dörrie, Elmar Wepper, Hannelore Elsner, Nadja Uhl

 

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An elderly husband suffering from a terminal illness begins to appreciate his wife on a whole new level after she dies suddenly during a trip to see their children and grandchildren in Berlin. Rudi is not long for this world, but only his doctor and his wife, Trudi, know how serious his condition has truly become. As Trudi wrestles with whether or not to break the

Overview

An elderly husband suffering from a terminal illness begins to appreciate his wife on a whole new level after she dies suddenly during a trip to see their children and grandchildren in Berlin. Rudi is not long for this world, but only his doctor and his wife, Trudi, know how serious his condition has truly become. As Trudi wrestles with whether or not to break the news to her ailing husband, the doctor recommends to her that the couple perhaps do something that they have been planning for years but could never find the time to fit into their busy schedules. Later, after convincing Rudi to travel with her to Berlin and visit their family for the first time in years, the couple is heartbroken to realize that their children have no time for them. When Trudi suddenly passes away and Rudi realizes that he never knew his wife as well as he wanted to or expressed his affection in a way that truly reverberated, the widower is devastated to discover just what sacrifices Trudi had made to be with him. In the aftermath of that discovery, Rudi dedicates his remaining days to realizing Trudi's unfulfilled dreams and traveling to Tokyo to celebrate her life during the breathtaking cherry blossom festival -- a colorful festival staged to celebrate beauty, impermanence, and new beginnings.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
One feels a risk in identifying Doris Dörrie's Cherry Blossoms as inspired by Yasujiro Ozu's Tokyo Story -- this is mostly due to the spate of homages (and outright remakes) that we know from Hollywood, which usually take the form of poor copies and imitations, most of them pale and superficial, the bulk (if not the entirety) of their inspiration to be found solely in the starting notion of the homage, and derived from the original. Cherry Blossoms is, indeed, inspired by Tokyo Story, but its inspiration goes a lot further than that starting point, and the resulting movie is neither pale nor superficial. Indeed, it has fresh inspiration oozing out of every scene and most of its shots. Dörrie has successfully translated her admiration into a heartfelt, finely nuanced movie that starts with a beautifully told tale of a loving -- if not perfect -- marriage in its final stages, and, in its last two thirds, pulses with the thrill and wonder of discovery. The filmmaker successfully parallels her own first experience of Japan in that of the principal character, Rudi (Elmar Wepper), a widower grieving the loss of his wife, Trudi (Hannelore Elsner), and transliterates her experience through the script on two levels. Every experience of Tokyo is filtered through the initial confusion of Rudi as he makes a personal pilgrimage on Trudi's behalf to Tokyo, and in camera images that present a more intimate view of what he finds. These parallel emotional reference points merge in the final section of the movie, as Rudi, expressing his grief over the loss of his wife, embraces Japan on behalf of both of them in his final act of love. The movie manages to be heartfelt but not overly sentimental as it tells a tale of parental displacement and generational detachment -- it finally shows its true emotional underpinnings when it plunges into the wonder of the new, and arrives at a reconciliation with the past. Dörrie's unerring camera eye is ably supported by a brace of superb performances, led by Wepper and Elsner; Maximilian Brückner as their son Karl, who lives in Tokyo; and the hauntingly beautiful and affecting Aya Irizuki as Yu, the Butoh dancer whom Rudi meets and is befriended by in Tokyo, and who later finds a bond with Karl as well. The film is helped immeasurably by the fact that Dörrie arrived to shoot in Japan with an unfinished script. What we end up seeing, if not documentary or improvisation, has the glow and spark of first-person experience, close to its point of origin and not worn or worried to death in the writing process. The filmmaker has also taken her time -- just over two hours -- with the confidence of a supremely gifted storyteller, and this has left lots of room for stunningly beautiful visuals (especially of Mount Fuji, near the end, which is all part of the glorious, fantasy-driven denouement that should bring tears to the eyes of most filmgoers), amid the engrossing narrative. The beauty of the film is startling as well, making it worth experiencing more than once. It's a fine film, and one that likely would have made Ozu proud as well, as one of its sources of inspiration. (As a side note, although Dörrie's inspiration for Cherry Blossoms was Ozu's Tokyo Story, the latter was, itself, inspired by Leo McCarey's Make Way for Tomorrow; that, plus pictures such as Sleepless in Seattle [which was inspired by McCarey's An Affair to Remember, itself a remake of McCarey's own Love Affair], is a reminder that McCarey is one of the least-recognized and most influential Hollywood filmmakers of his era. And one suspects he would have adored Cherry Blossoms.)

Product Details

Release Date:
06/16/2009
UPC:
0712267281121
Original Release:
2008
Rating:
NR
Source:
Strand Home Video
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
2:04:00
Sales rank:
47,115

Special Features

Original theatrical trailer; Other trailers from strand releasing

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Elmar Wepper Rudi
Hannelore Elsner Trudi
Nadja Uhl Franzi
Maximilian Brückner Karl
Aya Irizuki Yu
Birgit Minichmayr Karolin
Felix Eitner Klaus
Floriane Daniel Emma
Celine Tannenberger Celine
Robert Döhlert Robert
Tadashi Endo Butoh Dancer

Technical Credits
Doris Dörrie Director,Screenwriter
Claus Bantzer Score Composer
Christof Ebhardt Sound/Sound Designer
Molly von Furstenburg Producer
Sabine Greunig Costumes/Costume Designer
Harald Kügler Producer
Hanno Lentz Cinematographer
Frank Müller Editor
Nessie Nesslauer Casting
Max Rammler Sound Mixer
Inez Regnier Editor
Bele Schneider Production Designer
Ruth Stadler Associate Producer
Patrick Zorer Associate Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Cherry Blossoms
1. Opening Sequence [1:38]
2. Diagnosis [11:12]
3. Family Visit [10:02]
4. The Big City [13:53]
5. Ghosts [12:48]
6. Japan [12:33]
7. Lost [10:20]
8. Shadow Dance [8:52]
9. Cabbage Rolls [8:23]
10. Happy and Sad [15:31]
11. Mr. Fuji [14:07]
12. End Credits [3:19]

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Cherry Blossoms 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
bacigirl More than 1 year ago
Heartbreakingly beautiful. The impermanence of life, the beauty of a devoted mate, complex, moving, real. The performers leave you aching for more from them and from yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago