At the heart of the devastation, pure and untouched stands a cherry tree. Pink and in blooming, symbol at the same time of the rebirth and the impermanence, survived the terrible strength of the waves, remembers to the Japanese people that life constantly flourishes. On March 11 everything was destroyed, a month later, in April, begins the season of hanami (花見), a celebration so uniquely Japanese that it is difficult to understand for who is not living in Japan and has not seen the sweet and slow unraveling of a pink carpet composed of thousands of small flowers.
It’s a magical time, when everyone stops to enjoy that happiness that comes instinctively in the heart at the sight of the spirit of nature in bloom. Even the people of Tohoku, the region so hardest hit by the tsunami, celebrate the hanami, contemplate the cherry blossoms in the ruins, feel the power of life in a being so fragile and of so short existence, and then resume to build, with alacrity and diligence.
The cherry blossoms represent the Japanese philosophical aesthetics in the deeper form, symbolize the alternation of life and death in a natural course of events. There is no sadness, no wickedness, no rancor: it is simply life. Even when the flowers fall from the branches, you must not be sad, because the next year they will come back to show their pristine beauty. So the Japanese people roll up their sleeves and rebuild what has been lost, because “if you give up, then it is all over.”
津波そして桜, tsunami soshite sakura, the tsunami and then the cherry trees. It’s the title in Japanese of the documentary “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”, a wonderful short film nominated for the 2012 ACADEMY AWARD®. A stunning visual poem about the ephemeral nature of life and the healing power of Japan’s most beloved flower. Directed by Academy Award Nominated filmmaker Lucy Walker (Waste Land), featuring photography by Aaron Phillips and music by Moby.
2012 ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE – BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
2012 OFFICIAL SELECTION SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL
2011 TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL