Monday, July 16, 2012

HBO airs Sundance documentary "The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom"

The 40-minute HBO short “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”  (dir. Lucy Walker) starts with the most graphic video of the March 2011 tsunami in Japan that I have ever seen. As people watch and then scream from a bluff,  the “last wave” approaches from the distant ocean, then encroaches, and finally comes to the foot of the bluff, washing away buildings and people on camera.  People trying to rescue patients from a nursing home themselves are washed away.

Gradually, the film turns to rejuvenation, the late Spring in northeast Japan, as symbolized by the cherry trees (some quite large) and blossoms.  But there are no festivals this year. “Plants don’t give up, people do.”
Disasters can wipe out people who don’t participate in building social capital, who are totally invested in “themselves”.

The tsunami was 133 feet high at this particular town.  It is conceivable that a volcanic eruption and landslide underneath the Cumbre Vieja in the Canary Islands could send a tsunami to parts of the US East Coast 200-300 feet high, with about eight hours warning. We are not prepared!

The film won a grand jury prize, short-film non-fiction, at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

HBO’s link is here.

Wikipedia attribution link for animated diagram of tsunami. 

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