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Cherry Blossoms - Hanami


Mon 21 Jun 2010, 6:15pm–8:30pm

Where: The Paramount Theatre, 25 Courtenay Place, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Members Free. Public by Donation (notes) at the door: $0.00
  • Additional fees may apply

(Doris Dörrie, Germany 2008)
Doris Dorrie the storyteller is in top form in Cherry Blossoms – Hanami a surprisingly deep tale about a middle-aged German couple discovering love on the brink of death… Dorrie brings unusual force and conviction to the story of sensitive Trudi (Hannelore Elsner) and her dyed-in-routine husband, Rudi (Elmar Wepper), who is soon to retire from his managerial job.

Trudi chooses not to reveal to him his doctor's diagnosis that he is suffering from a fatal illness and has only a short time to live. Nor does she tell the truth to their grown children in Berlin, who are too busy with their own lives and problems to enjoy their parents' visit. Just when the film seems ready to turn into a dysfunctional family saga, the story turns around with a brilliant coup de theater: Trudi suddenly dies in her sleep, dreaming of herself in the costume and makeup of a Japanese Butoh dancer.

The second half of the film shifts from her to Rudi. All of a sudden he discovers how passionately he loved her. Following her memory, even wearing her clothes, he embarks on a voyage of self-discovery in Japan, where their son Klaus lives. By the time he gets to Tokyo, most viewers will gladly suspend disbelief to follow the tale to its extremely touching but peaceful conclusion. There is a lot going on in a film full of symbols of impermanence - flies, flowers, cherry blossoms. From Hokusai's well-known drawings of Mount Fuji to famed dancer Tadashi Endo's pain-filled Butoh performances, Dorrie goes beyond the Lost in Translation jokes about East-West culture clashes to communicate something meaningful and deep about Japanese art and thought.

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