by Chris MaGee
Right around now the cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom across Japan. Young couples, groups of friends and families, and entire offices are packing picnics, loading up on beer and sake, and laying out their blue plastic tarps to eat, drink and be merry under a canopy of pale pink blossoms. Sigh... I only managed one year of hanami celebrations back in 2006, but it's an experience I'll never forget... and one I hope to repeat in the future. For now I guess I'll have to sooth myself with a bit of onscreen hanami with the latest film by German director Doris Dörrie appropriately titled "Cherry Blossoms".
"Cherry Blossoms" stars Elmar Wepper as a Bavarian man who travels to Japan to fulfill his late wife's wish of seeing Mount Fuji and the cherry blossoms. While there he's befriended by a young street performer who aides him on his journey. This is Doris Dörrie's third Japanese-themed film having already made 1999's "Enlightenment Guaranteed" about two brothers who travel to a Zen monastery outside Tokyo, and 2005's "Der Fischer und seine Frau" about two fish importers traveling to Japan where the meet a German fashion designer who they both fall in love with.
Mongrel Media will be releasing Dörrie's "Cherry Blossoms" here in Toronto later this month, so I know that I'll be keeping my eyes open, waiting to see which theatre it plays at. (Please let it be the Cumberland...) To whet your appetite you can check out the trailer below. Fans of Yasujiro Ozu will definitely catch Dörrie's nod to the master's best known film "Tokyo Story.