Oscar-nominated director Lucy Walker set out to make “a visual haiku about cherry blossoms” in Japan but changed her plans radically following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the country on March 11, 2011. Taken with the cherry blossom’s beauty and ability to symbolize the ephemeral quality of life, Walker links the disaster with the power of Japan’s most beloved flower to heal and inspire in this stunning visual poem. Opening with a long clip of jaw-dropping real life footage of the tsunami, the film shows water sweeping houses and buildings along like toys, lifting up cars and swallowing people. Interviews with survivors in a northern Japanese village in the heart of the disaster, whose residents share their traumatic personal experiences of the tsunami, are framed by the metaphor of cherry blossoms, a symbol deep in Japanese culture that suggests rebirth. Directed by Lucy Walker. Produced by Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen. Photography by Aaron Phillips. Music by Moby. 2012 Academy Award Nominee, Best Documentary Short Film. Jury Prize in Short Film, Non-Fiction, 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Supported by a Women In Film/National Geographic All Roads Film Project Grant.

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

2011 US 40 min
Festival Year: 2012
Topic: Global Perspectives