|Photo by Spreng Ben.|
Nevertheless, Cherry Blossoms alluded strongly to the 1953 Japanese-language film Tokyo Story. In turn, Tokyo Story draws on the English-language film Make Way for Tomorrow (1937).
I found them all thought provoking. The recurrence of the theme moving from 1937 to 1953 to 2008 makes a strong case for recommending all of them. But start with just one.
All three films take a good, hard look at how adult children respond to their parents' aging process. And it's not a pretty scene.
I was mesmerized by Cherry Blossoms (2008). As with all three films, it's an ensemble cast of characters portraying aging parents and their children. This most contemporary version is paced faster than Tokyo Story and is much less preachy than Make Way for Tomorrow.
Here is a trailer for the fairly contemporary film Cherry Blossoms (2008):
Cherry Blossoms begins with the patriarch Rudi working his last year at a waste management company. His wife Trudi supports him and dedicated herself to raising three children: Klaus, Karl and Karolin--who are all now well launched. After deciding it's too expensive to fly to Japan to see Karl, who lives and works abroad, the parents visit the other two children who live in Berlin.
(Note: There is some female nudity in the middle of the film when Rudi leaves a bar where he has been drinking all day. Skip the next 10 minutes after that if you want to avoid viewing those graphic scenes.)
It's hard to review this film without spoiling the effect of the events as they unfold. I will just comment that the imagery was thought-provoking (if not a bit heavy handed at times). But more intriguing to me was the depiction of the artists in the film. I was moved by the juxtaposition of the thoughtless mundane acts of daily life are sharply contrasted with intentional acts of increased self-awareness. I found myself feeling gratitude for the role of artists in society.
Here is a film critic from New York Times reviewing slow-paced Tokyo Story:
Tokyo Story also has been positively reviewed for it's depiction of post-World War II change and how younger Japanese approached life differently from their parents, which only added to the generational conflict when the parents' aging issues grew apparent.
A Sermon-in-a-Trailer for Make Way for Tomorrow:
Both of these films pay homage to the 1937 film, Make Way for Tomorrow. This film is the most overtly didactic of the three. For this reason, it got a little grating. But the questions it poses and the observations it makes about family dynamics still holds true.
Granted, King Lear puts a harsher focus on Lear's flaws than the film. Nevertheless, I do concede that Shakespeare had his thumb on the pulse of the question: what responsibilities to adult children have to their parents? After centuries of consideration, few find an easy response.
Films About Aging A-L