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The Battle of the Japanese Movies at CIFF

March 27th, 2009

When I pick out movies to attend each year at CIFF, my tastes seem to trend towards Eastern European and Chinese films.  Well, this year it’s the year of the Japanese and the two movies I’ve seen so far could not have been more different.

On Wednesday, before the Social Media Club-Cleveland monthly get-together, Kelly and I went to see German + Rain.  As we were going into the theatre, tickets in hand, I ran into Joe who said that April (I realize this syntax is a little high school girl, but stick with me) had called the movie weird.  Yeah, that was an understatement.  It was unfocused and had bad translations to boot.  And, it’s the second movie I’ve seen this year that involved someone jumping into a hole filled with sewage.  Seriously, I think I’m done with that image.

No matter what, it’s interesting seeing into another culture.  But when I compare German + Rain to Cherry Blossoms, which was part of last week’s Sunday schedule, it disappears from view like a light fog when the sun emerges.  The story of an older German couple, a death, a trip to Japan and an exploration into real lasting love was so powerful that most of the audience became a little weepy.  Me, I cried as if I’d been set ablaze and my tears were the only way to put the fire out.  The film is filled with true emotion - and it’s visually remarkable with scenes of Tokyo, the Alps and Mount Fuji.  The CIFF has added an extra screening of Cherry Blossoms Sunday night at 7:10 (meaning you can go to the big awards ceremony right after) so there still a chance for you to see what has to be one of the real contenders for audience favorite this year.

Tomorrow, I go back into the ring for another few rounds of films.  WKSU is sponsoring two screenings of The Wrecking Crew (Sat at 9:25 P and Sun at 4:25 P), so I’ll be standing politely next to the table. Come by, I’ll give you a magnet (but not a kleenex - if you’re going to Cherry Blossoms, be forewarned and prepared).

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