© Constantin Film Verleih GmbH

Kirschblüten & Dämonen
Germany 2019

Opening 7 Mar 2019

Directed by: Doris Dörrie
Writing credits: Doris Dörrie
Principal actors: Golo Euler, Aya Irizuki, Hannelore Elsner, Elmar Wepper, Felix Eitner

There were times when Karl (Golo Euler) walked the streets of Tokyo as a proud business man. Meanwhile he lives in Munich, has lost his job as well as his family. Karl is a broken man, drinking himself into a stupor. At night he is tortured by demons, dreaming of his deceased parents, unable to differentiate between the living and the dead. The Nazi past of his grandparents is mixed with a tender attachment to his mother and comments of his demanding father. Night after night he is visited by their ghosts.

Unexpectedly, Yu (Aya Irizuki) arrives at his doorstep. The young girl looked after his father in Tokyo. Now she looks after Karl. She knows how to communicate with demons. At night she offers them a cup of tea in order to calm them. Slowly, a new perspective opens up for Karl enabling him to understand his parents' motives and his own behavior. He finds the courage for a new start in life.

Doris Dörrie has created a continuation of her acclaimed film Kirschblüten-Hanami of 2008. She even chose the same actors like Hannelore Elsner, Elmar Wepper, Birgit Minichmayr and Felix Eitner. Hanno Leitz is again the man behind the camera, responsible for dark demons as well as wonderful landscapes.

Bavarian customs meet Japanese folklore. The result is a mix of reality and fantasy, of drama and comedy with touchingly sad moments. It is Doris Dorrie's recurring theme of love, loss and loneliness within a family relationship. She is a versatile filmmaker with a keen sense for the absurdities of life. At the same time she creates a balance between tragic and comical moments. (Birgit Schrumpf)

Second Opinion

Dorris Dörrie picks up the pieces of her acclaimed masterpiece Kirschblüten - Hanami ten years after the events in Tokyo. Rudi’s (Elmar Wepper) and Trudi’s (Hannelore Elsner) workaholic son Karl (played this time by Golo Euler) is back in Bavaria, divorced, alcoholic and severely depressed.

His destructive passivity is interrupted when the young street dancer Yu (Aya Irizuki), who had befriended his father in Tokyo before his death, turns up at his doorstep and demands entry into his life. With Yu’s help Karl can begin to confront his demons, first in the Allgäu region and finally in Tokyo.

Unfortunately the film loses its way fairly early on. A repetitive visualization of Karl’s blackest memories and fears is no substitute for a working script. Karl is reactive, not active, and his figure reverts into passivity far too many times. That effectively smothers any real interest in his development. Far more riveting are the short scenes with the ephemeral Yu, a short sequence in an old ryokan filmed near Tokyo with Kiri Kirin in her last role, and scenes with Elsner and Wepper in a unique farmhouse in the Allgäu region of Bavaria.

None of this adds up to a coherent film. The lightness of Hanami is nowhere to be seen. This time around it all turns into a far more labored and bizarre treatment of issues of male identity, depression and loneliness.  And frankly, it just doesn’t fly. (Ann Gebauer-Thompson)

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