Robert E. Yahnke
Cherry Blossoms, dir. Dorris Dőrrie
tracking shots in on seven images of
2. Then a dissolve to the old woman in close-up as she examines an x-ray of her husband. She is in the doctor’s office, and the doctor tells her, “We wanted to talk to you first.” Cut to wide shot of two doctors sitting across from her. The younger one, who spoke before, continues, “Do you think you husband can handle the diagnosis? People react differently.” Reverse angle to close-up of old woman. We hear the other doctor say, “How the disease progresses is hard to say. He may not have any symptoms for a long time.” Back to the doctors. The younger one adds, “You might want to think about doing something together—a trip—something a little adventurous.” Close-up of woman. Then close-up reaction shots of the two doctors. Back to the woman: “My husband hates adventures.”
3. Shot of verdant hillside with dandelions in the foreground. Then a shot of the side of the house—a towel flapping on the line. Cut to a wide shot showing a mountain in the background. “He would prefer it if nothing changed.” Then a shot of a duck crossing a lane. Her voice-over: “Ever, at all.” Quick cut to a crucifix hanging on the wall of a room. Then we see her husband walking away from the house. Her voice-over: “Every day he takes the 7.28 to Weilheim.” An uninflected shot of the rails as if seen from the window of a speeding train. Then we see her husband on the train, seated next to a younger man. Each is reading a different section of the paper. After a beat, they exchange sections and continue reading. “He used to work at the passport office. Now he’s the head of the waste management office.” Insert a shot of his hat on the rack above his seat. Cut to a recycling poster: “He’s only been sick once in 20 years—one week in 1991—” Insert close shot of notebooks above his desk—perfectly organized. Then we see him at work at his desk. “—the flu and ear infection. Every noon he eats the sandwich I make for him. And his apple: an apple a day keeps the doctor away!” He says that every morning.” In his office, he tosses the apple from his lunch over to his younger co-worker and says, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Three shots show progress of the train back to the home station. Her husband steps off the train. Cut to a close shot of the duck we saw earlier—crossing the lane again. Then three uninflected shots of scenes around the village, then a prowling cat, the mountains beyond the village, and now her husband walking toward the camera—toward his house.
4. From inside the house, we see the old woman’s point of view. She is Trudi, and she spots her husband, Rudi, outside her window. She greets him at the door, and the routine continues: she takes his coat, he removes his scarf, they exchange pleasantries, she helps him with his sweater, he changes shoes to slippers, and she presents his full plate for dinner. At dinner they eat in silence. She is wearing a fuzzy light blue sweater. She admits that she is not hungry tonight.
routine at a fitness center. Trudi sits
apart from the other women exercising. Back home, all is quiet in the
village. Rudi is asleep on the couch—the
TV still on. Trudi returns home and
finds him on the couch. He wakes up. Then they are in bed. She cannot
sleep. Notice the beautiful Japanese
robe Trudi is wearing. She can’t sleep.
She turns on the lamp. We notice
a photograph of a young man, Karl—one of their sons—who lives in
TWO. FIRST JOURNEY.
two are on a ski-lift moving across the mountains. Below them is Neuschwanstein, the fairy-tale
castle. Trudi suggests they take a
7. Scenes of Trudi packing. So they are going on a trip. Close shot of a colored handkerchief she is ironing. A teardrop falls upon the cloth, she sighs, and she irons it away. Her packing is perfect—all the clothes organized in the luggage. They set off from their house, Rudi carrying the two bags, and Trudi a carry-on. Where are they headed?
a train—close-up of a fly on the window.
They sit across from each other.
Although they just got on the train, he’s hungry. She offers him his apple—and he says, “An
apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But
he tells her he will eat it later.
Ha! He digs into a sandwich. She
puts on sunglasses—to hide her tears. He rhapsodizes, “Imagine, the train stops
train arrives in its station—
10. Later, Trudi gets down close to her little granddaughter and watches her play her video game. An uncomfortable silence has fallen over the group. Now here comes the third child, Caroline, and Emma goes to the door to greet her. They talk conspiratorially for a moment about this sudden intrusion by the old folks. The big concern for both women is that they don’t have time to give to Trudi and Rudi. But Caroline bursts in anyway and puts a brave face on the situation.
Trudi’s granddaughter shows her upstairs—where the old couple will be
sleeping—in the little girl’s room. Outside the apartment, Rudi stands there,
looking around, watching a backhoe next door at work; meanwhile, Trudi stands
alone on the balcony. She is wearing
that blue sweater again. At the same
time their daughter stands outside and checks her phone messages. The boy and
girl are playing in the yard. The
barbecue is fired up, and the sausages Rudi brought are boiled. But he’s the only one eating them later at
dinner. At the table Emma suggests they
go sightseeing tomorrow. Then they will take coffee at Caroline’s
apartment. Trudi has an interest in
intending a performance by a famous Butoh dancer from
THREE. KEEPING COMPANY.
12. Outside the house Klaus sets his timer on his digital camera, and all line up for the obligatory photo. We see three different shots—and notice how Trudi eventually succeeds in getting the sunglasses off of her granddaughter’s eyes. Inside their bedroom later, that same granddaughter massages Rudi’s neck. Trudi sits behind them on the bed and is wearing the same Japanese robe we saw earlier. Trudi makes sure to slip a few Euros to her granddaughter behind Rudi’s back. Trudi holds her granddaughter close to her, and they both look down at grandpa, lying on his back in a small bed.
downstairs, the younger generation is debriefing. They are munching on
chocolates Karl sends to Klaus and Emma regularly—the chocolate box is shaped
14. Upstairs, we see insert close-ups of some of the kids’ art works. Trudi and Rudi are sitting next to each other. Neither one is tired. “I’m glad they’re all doing well,” Trudi says. “I can remember them so well as children. But now—I don’t know who they are.” Rudi asks, “Are you disappointed in them?” She answers, “I just don’t know them anymore.” He concludes, “You can’t ask too much.” Then each lies down in his or her separate bed. Trudi reaches out and takes his hand—and they clasp hands tightly.
next day busy street scenes in
16. Back at the apartment, Trudi cuts her grandson’s toenails. Rudi sits patiently at the table, all dressed and ready to go. We see a street scene from a moving car, and we hear Franzi’s voice: “I’ll show you our old apartment,” and a reaction shot shows the old couple fascinated by her monologue. Her personal tour continues, and then we see the old couple on a tour boat on the river. Franzi watches them from a nearby seat. Trudi leans against Rudi’s back and smiles.
FOUR. TOURING ENDS BADLY.
17. Back at Caroline’s apartment, the old folks show the beautiful pastries they brought for a coffee break. The old couple thanks Franzi for the wonderful tour, and Caroline kisses Franzi to show her appreciation, too. Reaction shots of Trudi and Rudi. Then Rudi thanks them for the good beer. Trudi asks her daughter, “Does Karl still drink.” Caroline leans forward and says, “How would I know? Karl never drank very much.” But her mother disagrees. “He drank like a fish for a while.” But both Caroline and Rudi disagree vehemently. Then Trudi asks if Karl has a girlfriend. Caroline explodes: “Mama, you call him all the time. Ask him. ‘Still boozing? What about chicks?’” But Franzi intervenes and asks what they would like to do next. Now it’s only 6:00 p.m. When Franzi asks if she should cook something, Rudi looks excited, but Trudi has recognized the signals between the two young women—and she and Rudi leave then. Mother and daughter have a big hug and off they go. Caroline stays in the frame left, in a close shot, and Franzi comes up behind her. Caroline is crying. Franzi comforts her, and they embrace. Franzi says, “Let’s have some wine.” They walk away from the door, and Caroline mutters, “I’m awful!”
old folks try to figure out how the trains run. They try and try again, but
they can’t figure out how to get a ticket for two. Finally, they just sit and wait. “I think I
want to go home,” Rudi says. He adds,
“The kids don’t have any time for us.”
Then she reminds him that the
19. Back at Klaus and Emma’s apartment. Everyone is asleep—except Trudi. She goes downstairs in her beautiful robe. Cut to a Butoh dancer on stage. He is dressed in a red robe, and there is a red urn next to him. We see his performance. Music up—and he stands up, and then we see a reaction shot of the audience. Franzi and Trudi are in the audience. Meanwhile, Rudi is looking around the lobby—a bit put off by some of the artworks on the wall. Back to the dancer. Reaction shot of Trudi—she is crying. The dancer again: he has disrobed, and he crawls along the stage floor, and engages in a series of violent and highly stylized movements—each one a kind of fall. There are bruises on his elbows from this activity.
FIVE. SECOND JOURNEY.
seashore. Trudi and Rudi have made it to the
21. Back in their hotel room that night. They can’t sleep again. She gets up and stands at the window and wags her rear end at her husband. Then she dances around the small room. “You’re loony,” he says. She pulls him up. “This is silly,” he says. She takes his arms and tries to make him dance with her. Then she works her way behind him, and she tries to hold up his arms, as if setting the motions for a dance he could make—only if he tried. He lets her guide his arms. We hear a piano version of the main theme. They dance on—she lifting his arms and embracing him. He turns to her and they kiss. “What’s with you?” he says. “Nothing. Nothing at all.”
22. The next morning is sunny, and the water of the lake is a deep blue. Inside the hotel, a cleaning woman is at work. The old couple walks outside on the beach. They walk along the beach. “Let’s go home,” he asks. “I thought you’d be happy to see the children,” she says. “I don’t know them. They don’t know me,” Rudi says. She admits, “They’re better than most.” He agrees, but he adds, “We’re fortunate. We have each other. That’s real happiness.” He walks past her. The camera stays on her—and she sighs, as if deeply sad now. We see her shadow cast by the sun against the sun. Then his shadow appears on the right side of the frame. They walk on.
23. That night, Trudi can’t sleep. She sits up in bed. She looks up, then, and we see, from her point of view, a strange scene: the door to their room is open, and the opening is filled with bright white light. In that light stands a Japanese dancer, dressed in a white nightgown. The dancer comes into focus, and his hands are stretched out, as if toward Trudi. Reaction shot of Trudi. She stands at the doorway, and she smiles. Reverse angle—a closer shot of the Butoh dancer, moving toward her—and then a shot of the waves of the sea, the sound normal, but the image in slow motion.
24. The next morning. Rudi wakes up first, gets up, goes to the window, and comments on the sea being smooth as glass. He goes back to the bed, and we see him reach across to Trudi. “Time to rise and shine! Get up, you lazybones!” He hits her arm, it flops back, and he is stunned. He stares at her, calls her name—and then a cut to the cleaning lady—and we hear Rudi’s cry of grief.
dressed in a black suit, and standing in front of the sea. Reverse angle, and
Caroline, his daughter, comes to fetch him.
“The sea is so calm,” he says. Then the family stands before the
casket. On the far right stands the
younger son, Karl, from
26. Rudi sitting on the bed in the hotel. This is the same shot we saw earlier, when he got up that morning and found his wife dead in bed next to him. He lifts out her Japanese robe from a plastic bag. Meanwhile, the children spend some time on the beach. Franzi sits next to Caroline. Klaus and his wife Emma sit in a cabana. Karl is away from them on the beach.
inside the main lodge at the beach, the family has just completed a meal
together. They reminisce about the 1987 family trip to
shots as we return to Rudi’s house in
and Franzi sit in his kitchen. Note: Rudi
is still wearing his old gray sweater. “She enjoyed the dancing most of all in
SEVEN. THIRD JOURNEY.
and Rudi’s bedroom. Images of
of people’s shoes as they walk past in a crowded terminal. Cut to Rudi waiting under a sign in
Japanese—so he must have flown to
32. Finally, they are inside Karl’s apartment.
Karl reminds his father to take off his shoes. Rudi looks around: it’s a tiny
apartment. The kitchen and living room
are one small room. Rudi looks out the
window: we see, over his shoulder, his point of view—the skyline of
33. Rudi looks around the apartment. He looks like a lost soul. He leafs through a Japanese adult comic book, a manga, and then flips through some of the many Bavarian postcards that his wife must have sent her son. In one card, she writes out the second stanza of the favorite family poem—the Mayfly. He reads the verse aloud, and he breaks down. Later, out on the balcony, he looks over the edge at a fast-moving train. Dusk finds him still on the balcony—and he can’t stop looking a the view.
34. Rudi and Karl in a café not far from the apartment. “We’ll do something nice tomorrow. I have to go out later.” He apologizes to his father that he has such little time. “This was all very sudden.” But Karl waves away the apology. “I don’t want to get on your nerves.” Close shot of Karl: “Why didn’t you ever visit me?” Close shot of Rudi: “We thought we had time.” He adds, “I kept her from what she wanted most. I wish I could make it up to her. But I can’t. You can’t do things for the dead.” These words seem to hit Karl hard—his son taps the old man on his shoulder.
35. Rudi goes through his pills in his son’s bedroom at the apartment. He looks out into the living area; Karl is sprawled on his small sofa. Rudi opens his luggage. On the top is Trudi’s Japanese robe, neatly folded. Rudi takes it out and lays it on the bed, and then places Trudi’s blue fuzzy sweater over it, and then one of her dresses below the sweater—almost as if constructing a version of Trudi right in front of him. He even takes out a black pearl necklace and lays it over the neck of the sweater. Then he sits and stares at it.
36. The next day Karl takes him to a lounge high atop a skyscraper, and he gives him money, asks him to wait for him there, and tells him not to leave the premises: “I don’t want you to get lost.” He points to a skyscraper across the canyon of tall buildings and says, “I work there.” He leaves for work. Rudi sits down and orders a beer from the waitress. Soon she is delivering beer number 3. Night has fallen, and Rudi is still drinking. He has switched to bourbon on the rocks.
37. It’s late at night now, and KX is wandering about on the street. He ties a handkerchief to a metal railing—as if to mark his spot so that he can find his way back. He wanders into a place where women entertain by dancing above the elderly guests; often the women lift their dresses provocatively and briefly—sometimes showing their pubic hair. Rudi takes it all in without much emotion. Later, he is back on the street again. Suddenly he finds himself in a public bathing house. Naked young women lather him up and rub their bodies provocatively against his body. He seems numb to their performances. Suddenly he begins to cry. He leaves. Insert close-up of his handkerchief—still tied to the railing.
38. The next morning. An exterior shot, just outside Karl’s apartment building. Rudi is lying on his side just outside the entrance. He holds his handkerchief in his hand. A woman comes out and tries to wake him up. But Karl is right behind her. He waves the woman away and confronts his father. “Where were you? Are you crazy? I was so worried. I thought I’d lost you for good.” His father complains that he couldn’t figure out the doorbells. But Karl can’t understand why he went off on his own. “I told you to stay put!”
39. Karl on his way to work. Back to Rudi in the tiny apartment. His son has fashioned a cardboard sign for him to wear when he goes out—it has his name and address in Japanese, so that some kind soul can help Rudi find his way back home. He sits down and puts the sign around his neck. Later he watches some television—but he is stunned when he comes across a Butoh dancing performing on a dock. He watches the performance, and he seems mesmerized. Then he goes to the closet and fondles some of his wife’s clothing. Then he sits in front of a mirror, tips the mirror forward, and we see that he is wearing his wife’s clothes—her blue sweater, her black pearls, her dress.
40. Karl returns to the apartment. He says hello to his father—and we see Rudi sitting at the table, dressed in his usual clothes. He shows Rudi how to work Karl’s mobile phone. Karl shows him his phone number. What about dinner? Karl sits behind his father. “I don’t understand where Trudi is,” his father says. Karl reacts. “Where her body is.” He goes on: “My memories of her are in my body, but when I’m gone, where will she be?” Karl moves around to face him: “I’m grieving for Mama, too.” He wants to say more, but Rudi cuts him off: “Don’t say, ‘Life goes on.’ Please.”
41. An outdoor scene in a grove of cherry trees. Rudi has joined Karl and many of his friends. All are sitting under a cherry tree. The blossoms are at their fullness. Hundreds of people are in the park. We can see families celebrating, having their pictures taken, all happy and relaxed. “Cherry blossoms—the most beautiful symbol of impermanence.” We see a middle-aged man explaining this to Rudi: “They appear overnight, stay for a few days, and then they’re gone. You can’t hold on to them.” As he speaks, we see children holding branches from the cherry trees. Karl, very drunk, fools around with a panda mascot. While Karl roams about, making a fool out of himself, Rudi looks up and seems to be mesmerized by the beautiful blossoms overhead.
42. Rudi helps Karl into his apartment that night. “This will be the first time you’ve ever put me to bed!” he says to Rudi. “You—of all people!” Karl flops down on his bed. “We always have to look after you! You have to be the center of attention! Look after Papa! Your poor Papa!” Old hurts flow out of his mouth as he rails against Rudi. “Works his ass off in the office!” Rudi tells him, “That’s enough.” But Karl isn’t finished yet. “You hid in your office your whole life! You never even really knew Mama! You have no idea who she was!” Rudi gives up and lets Karl drop back down onto the bed. He walks out. Karl calls after him, “Go back to your garbage trucks! That’s where you belong!” Rudi stands there in the kitchen, in the dark, and reacts to this outburst. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” Karl yells.
43. The next morning: Karl is at the table. Rudi, dressed in an apron, is making Karl a lunch to take with him. He hands him his lunch, then an apple, and both recite the old saying—“An apple a day….” But Karl does not look happy. Now with Karl gone, Rudi begins to look through the apartment and clean up the place. First he separates the cans and bottles (old recycling habits), and then sweeps the place.
leaves the apartment building. First he ties his handkerchief—a place reminder.
He goes back to the grove of cherry trees from the earlier scene. He wanders
the grove. We see a high angle shot of him—as he opens his coat to show that he
is dressed in Trudi’s blue sweater, wears her pearls, and also wears Trudi’s
dress. “So, Trudi, this is for you!” he says. He spins around—as if to show
Trudi what he is wearing. Night scene.
Back in the apartment. Karl moves around
in the kitchen, then comes in on Rudi—sitting in the dark. He asks his father what he did today. Nothing. “You can’t just do nothing all day,”
Karl says. “I have a lot to do. I
remember. I think about your mother. I
NINE. BUTOH DANCER.
on a tour boat in the river. Close shot of Rudi—although he is wearing his
coat, we can tell he is dressed the same as before—dressed to show Trudi the
46. In Karl’s apartment. He has just entered the door, and he is on the phone with someone—evidently his sister Caroline. And he speaks his mind: “He’s driving me crazy! He sits around all day. I don’t know what to do with him! I don’t have the time for him!” Cut to an exterior view from the balcony—where Rudi is standing, his back to the window—and he can hear the conversation. “I’m sorry, but he’s really getting on my nerves. And he’s behaving very strange. Did you know he brought all his money? And he brought Mama’s clothes, too. Really! I think he needs therapy.” Rudi sneaks back into the kitchen. “He can’t cope. But I can’t cope either. You’ll have to take him. Or Klaus. No. But now it’s your turn!” Suddenly Karl turns around when he hears Rudi is nearby. Of course, he is dumbstruck. He wonders how long his father has been standing there. Rudi, standing across from him, says simply, “Just let me stay here with you a little longer.” Karl is apologetic, and he comes forward for a long hug—and Karl puts his forehead down on his father’s shoulder—then we see from an exterior view the two men break their hug and stand awkwardly apart.
47. The cherry trees. Rudi has returned to the park where the young Butoh dancer was in an earlier scene. She is there again, wearing the same garb, and dancing to different music this time. Rudi comes up to her and watches from a short distance. Again the young dancer uses the phone as a prop. When the song is done, he approaches the young woman. He wants to ask her something. She explains Butoh dancing as a kind of shadow dance; she holds out her hands and moves them through space—and we can see her shadow cast on the pathway. She holds out his hands and asks him to do the same—and he tries to move them artistically.
a. “I don’t know who is the shadow!” She leans forward and speaks, as if talking to a child, “Hello! Who are you?” He watches her. She looks back up at him. “No answer.”
b. She adds, “Everybody can dance Butoh”—and she grabs him as it to begin teaching him. But he pulls himself loose from her.
c. He sits on a bench, and she comes around to sit next to him. “Everybody has a shadow. Everybody alive. . . and everybody dead. At the same time!” And she gives him a knowing wink.
d. He looks hard at her. Then she says, “I dance with the dead,” and says she is referring to her mother. When did she die? “Yesterday—one year.” She adds, “She loved the telephone—the pink telephone. Always on the phone.”
e. “My wife, too,” Rudi says. “Three children—always telephone.”
young woman says, “I am on the phone with my mother all the time. She is in me.” Rudi stares at her as if she were the Oracle
g. “Where is your wife?” the young woman asks. “I don’t know where she is,” he says.
h. Now she is teaching him a move in the dance. She tells him to hold that memory in his hand, reach far upwards, feel the wind, see the cherry blossoms, and then look in your hand “and see the many shadows inside of you.” She keeps acting out the movements that represent the shadow dance—“Hold, hold, catch, catch the shadow, and feel the shadow.”
i. Suddenly the young woman decides it would be better if Rudi took off his bulky coat—then he could dance more freely. He resists her, of course, but she pulls open his coat—and there is the Trudi outfit—right in front of the young woman.
j. “It’s not me. It’s my wife,” Rudi says. She reacts with a quiet smile and nod of her head.
48. Rudi accompanies the young woman on the street later. She tells him her name: Yu. Now she is not wearing her Butoh outfit or her Butoh makeup. He tells her his name and she practices saying it a few times. They go to the subway. She takes his hand and then shows him how the system works. She waves to him when he gets on the right car.
49. Rudi at the grocery store. He points to a pamphlet of pictures of vegetables. The proprietor helps him. Back home, his plan is to make stuffed cabbage rolls—just like Trudi used to do. “How did she do it?” he ponders, as he begins cutting up the cabbage. And he has a plate of cabbage rolls ready when Karl returns home. But Karl says he has to go out. But Dad insists: eat one (he puts two on Karl’s plate—and some mashed potatoes. Karl takes a first bite, chews it, swallows it, and then begins to cry: “I miss Mama so much!” Rudi reaches out and takes his hand. “After running as far away as I could so I wouldn’t be so dependent on her!” Now Rudi reaches out and touches his son gently on his neck. “And where did I do? To the place she always wanted to go. And now she never even saw it.” Rudi reacts—and finally he speaks: “There are no flies here.” Karl can’t imagine what he’s talking about. So Rudi says, “I haven’t seen a single fly here.” Karl gets it. “You’re right.” And Rudi pats him on the back of the neck.
50. Close shot of Rudi’s shoes and Yu’s shoes. Then a two-shot of Rudi and Yu (dressed in Butoh makeup). They are in the park again. She is eating the rest of the cabbage rolls. She pushes the last two rolls together and says, “Now, happy—not separate.” Swan boats move past them on the pond. He tries to describe how he makes the cabbage rolls—and shows her a rolling motion. She hops up, lies down on an adjacent tarp, and begins to roll herself up. He does the same on his tarp—and in rolling toward each other, soon they are next to each other, all rolled up like two cabbage rolls (shown upside down in the frame from a bird’s-eye POV shot). “Now! Two cabbage rolls,” she says. As they leave the park, notice the image of cherry blossoms floating in the pond. Soon the blossoms all will be gone—a symbol of impermanence. Later, she takes him to the subway again, makes sure he gets on okay, and then leaves. He asks her
51. Rudi sweeping the apartment. Suddenly he begins to pay more attention to his movements. He seems freed now to enlarge the movements—and what he does looks very much like dance: and notice a version of the main theme music playing. But then he stumbles. He takes some pills. He rests against the wall.
52. Yu at the pond. Here comes Rudi’s shadow—and then we see him walk up next to Yu and say hello. Evidently she was waiting for quite some time—and he apologizes for being so late. Then the two spend some time in a swan boat on the pond. Later, they sit on a park bench under a cherry tree. He shows her a book of photographs taken over the years of his travel with Trudi. He points to a picture of a leopard in a zoo. “My wife,” he says. “A wildcat—in a cage.”
53. Later, she applies her Butoh makeup. This time Rudi becomes part of the dance. He holds onto the phone while she pulls on the chord and goes through her steps. She wraps him up in the chord and he seems to have a good time. Later, she takes him to the subway again. But this time he steps off the train after she leaves and follows her. It’s a long walk, but eventually he follows her to a homeless encampment on the side of the street. He stays back from her, and he watches her sweep out her tent and climb inside. She places her shoes outside the tent.
54. Cut to an insert close-up of the shoes at the threshold of Karl’s apartment; and there is a new pair of shoes—those that belong to Yu. We see Karl arguing with his father about bringing the young woman to his apartment. She is in the shower. Karl is shocked. She’s just a young girl! But Rudi insists that no one should live the way that girl is forced to live. “When did you become so callous?” Rudi asks. They turn around: Yu has slipped out of the apartment—she knew she was not wanted there. Later that night, we see Yu sitting outside her tent at night. She looks bored and lonely.
ELEVEN. FOURTH JOURNEY
new day. Karl is still asleep in the
apartment, but Rudi is moving around. He
has packed his bags. Rudi takes Karl’s hands in his own and holds them gently.
Karl does not wake up; and then Rudi is gone. Yu looks out of her tent later
that morning—and what does she see? Rudi is seated on a bench nearby. He is waiting for her. He is asleep. She goes to him and wakes him gently. He
opens his luggage: and there are Trudi’s clothes. “My wife wants to go on a trip,” he says.
“Can you come with her?” Yu nods. Views from the train. The two share a lunch
on the train. The train is headed up into the mountains. Later, Yu says, “What if we don’t see him?” She means
pull their luggage toward a guest house.
They climb down to a lake. She
points: that’s where the mountain is supposed to be. But they see no mountain. Rudi rests. “No
mountain!” Later, at the guest house, they check in. They share a large room. Photographs of
two asleep that night. The next morning, Yu opens the window screen again: but
no mountain view. Another dinner scene.
Another look outside: no luck. Another night time scene. But this one is different because suddenly Rudi
is gravely ill. A woman from the inn
comes in with a hot water bottle—and Yu sits over him and fusses with him.
Later that night, Yu is asleep. But Rudi
can’t sleep. He opens the window screen:
and there is majestic
58. Later that morning Yu looks frantically for Rudi. She runs down to the beach and finds him. Cut to a shot of Yu seated in the guest house later. She wears Rudi’s Bavarian hat and has the sign that Karl constructed (giving Rudi’s name and telephone number in Japanese) around her neck. She is crying. She goes through his luggage, and she flips through the photographs of Trudi performing Butoh—and Trudi comes to life briefly. She looks through the rest of the luggage, and she finds an envelope addressed “For You, from Rudi.” It is filled with money—all of his money.
is waiting at a crematorium. Then we see
the ashes of Rudi’s skeleton pulled out of storage after leaving the
furnace—pulled on a motorized cart. On a small table against the wall we see a
framed photograph of Rudi—typical in a Buddhist funeral rite. Then we see Karl,
a funeral director, and two assistants standing by the ashes of the
skeleton. Yu steps forward to help Karl
with the next step. The two assistants chant while Karl and Yu use chopsticks
to pick up parts of Rudi’s skeleton and drop them into a porcelain urn. When
Karl drops a bone, an assistant steps forward, sweeps up the bone and ashes,
and empties them into the urn. The process continues. Then the assistant closes the urn and places
it in a small decorated box. The ritual ended, Karl carries his father’s
picture (at his breast) and Yu follows with the ashes. Karl and Yu in a car on
the way back to
End credits—and views of
Summary written by Robert E. Yahnke
Copyright, Robert E. Yahnke, © 2010