|Yoshihiro Takishita, from Minka|
On Monday night, as part of the ongoing DOC NYC festival, I decided to check out a program of two short documentaries set in Japan, both made by non-Japanese filmmakers. One of them, Minka, is about the intersection of history and architecture; the other, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, is about cultural symbols and the ways in which many Japanese are projecting feelings of both resignation and hope in the cherry blossom now more than ever in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March. Both are good, but both also show the benefits and limits of perceiving a culture from an outsider's perspective. All of this I elucidate in my latest House Next Door review.
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, by the way, is on the shortlist for a Best Documentary Short Subject Oscar nomination...so you may be hearing more about Lucy Walker's film in the near future (a future, it appears, that will not include Brett Ratner as Oscar producer and Eddie Murphy as Oscar host, for those who care about such things).