On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck off the coast of
Oscar®-nominated this year for Best Documentary Short Subject, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom shows how nature can be a rejuvenating – as well as a destructive – force when it debuts Monday, July 16 (10:00-10:40 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO. Directed by Lucy
Other HBO playdates: July 18 (12:15 p.m.), 24 (4:15 p.m.) and 28 (6:00 a.m., 3:15 p.m.)
HBO2 playdate: July 18 (9:00 p.m.)
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom is a stunning visual poem about the ephemeral nature of life, and the healing power of
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom opens with harrowing home-video footage, shot from a hill, of a huge wave destroying the town below. A month later, a young woman stands on the same hill, remembering how she “watch[ed] people being consumed by the tsunami.” An older man tells how he tried and failed to save his oldest friend, proclaiming, “I don’t want a house. I don’t want clothes. I don’t want anything. I just want his life back.”
Others tell their stories of survival, escaping in their slippers and seeing whole houses rush toward them on a wave of black water. One couple living at a community center returns to the ruins of their house, hoping to rebuild. Their town is within the 30km exclusion zone around the
Amidst the despair in the days following the tsunami comes a glimmer of hope in “sakura” (cherry blossom), a harbinger of spring in
Out of respect for the victims, many viewing parties were cancelled this year, but people still visit the blossoms and take pictures. A man who lost his house shows where new plant shoots have sprouted on the beach, commenting that if plants can hang in there, humans can too. A young woman looking at the cleanup and construction adds, “Every year that the trees bloom, they’ll give us the courage to keep going.”
In addition to its Oscar® nomination, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom received the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was an official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Hamptons International Film Festival and BFI London.
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom was directed by Lucy Walker; executive producers, Tim Case and Charles V. Salice; producers, Kira Carstensen and Lucy Walker; director of photography, Aaron Phillips; editor, Aki Mizutani; music by Moby.