Writer-Director: Doris Dörrie. Germany, 2016, 104 min. German and Japanese with English Subtitles. Cast: Rosalie Thomass, Kaori Momoi, Mosche Cohen, Nami Kamata
Desperate to move past the heartbreak of her broken engagement, young German woman, Marie (Thomass) joins the charity circus troupe “Clowns4help” and travels to Japan, hoping to bring joy to the elderly survivors of the 2011 nuclear disaster still living in emergency shelters. Burdened by her own problems, and panicked by the devastation in Fukushima, Marie finds herself ill-suited to bring joy to others whose hardships she cannot imagine. Just as she decides to leave Japan, Marie encounters Satomi (Momoi), Fukushima’s last geisha, who is determined to return to her home in the radioactive exclusion area. Rather than retreating, Marie stays, electing to help Satomi rebuild her life. Though initially very different, the two find themselves united in the need to confront the ghosts of their respective pasts. Thomass’ “fish out of water” comedic timing blends perfectly with Momoi’s resourceful performance as the wise-cracking, aging geisha. Infusing both characters and script with her trademark tragically comedic style, writer-director Dörrie, shooting for the first time exclusively in Japan and in black and white, brings a refreshingly off-beat perspective to an otherwise emotionally heavy subject.
CICAE Art Cinema Award Berlinale 2016
Heiner Carow Award 2016
Bavarian Film Award 2016 (Best Actress, Rosalie Thomass)
Presented with the support of the Japan Foundation Los Angeles