Under the Cherry Tree

(Sakura no ki no shita)

- JAPAN / 2015 / Japanese / Color / Blu-ray / 92 min

Director: Tanaka Kei
Photography: Tanaka Kei, Maeta Yamato
Producer: Shimada Ryuichi
Production: Daifuku, JyaJya Films
Source: Daifuku Film

This film depicts, the danchi (housing complex) of a group of senior citizens, some of the people whose physical labor fundamentally underpinned the progress of Japanese society during the immediate postwar era, on through the high economic growth period of the 1960s. In the danchi where they live we see the reverse face of contemporary Japan, the image of elders who have lived hard lives and now face their own death. The young director starkly portrays the everyday existence of people living quietly on the outskirts of society.

[Director’s Statement] There were many children in the danchi where I grew up. No matter where I walked, I would always run into a friend. The danchi of today lack this human feeling. Most seem as if they had been vacated for a perpetual off-season. But when I first visited the Nogawa-nishi Housing Complex, something felt different. I sensed a hearty, vital energy emanating from within. The elderly men and women who provide that energy are the ones to thank for this film.

- Tanaka Kei

Born in 1987 in Shizuoka Prefecture, Tanaka Kei was raised in Kanagawa Prefecture. She is a graduate of the Japan Institute of the Moving Image, and participated in the Yamagata Rough Cut! program with this film at YIDFF 2013.