Cherry Blossoms (Kirschbluten-Hanami)
Who would be a parent? Unloved, unthanked and ultimately abandoned. The eternal story of ageist betrayal gets a fresh Germanic twist in this new film.
On finding out that her husband is gravely ill, elderly Trudi (Hannalore Eisner) decides that now may be the time to take that long deferred trip to see the children. Japanese dance enthusiast Trudi and taciturn, uptight hubby Rudi (Elmar Wepper) set off on a journey to see their selfish and self-aggrandising offspring. It is a trip from which they may not return.
Inspired by Leo McCarey’s wonderful 1937 film Make Way For Tomorrow (about an old married couple, who are shunted from one unappreciative grown children’s family to another, also the film upon which Ozu based his masterpiece Tokyo Story), prolific German filmmaker Doris Dörrie has made a touching if fairly obvious evaluation of life, love and loss with all its impermanence and incidental passions.
Based in part on Dorrie’s own life (her spouse died before she could share her own discovery of Japanese culture), Cherry Blossoms is more interesting when the action moves to Japan and away from its all too obvious origins. Rudi’s final spiritual reunification through Butoh dance in full costume is undoubtedly worth the wait.
GFT, Glasgow, Fri 3-Thu 9 Apr.