5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)


Summary: Presented as a series of three short stories with an overarching theme, this tells the story of two young lovers who’s connection to each other is strained by the distances of time and space as they grow older and lose touch.

Thoughts: After the first act, I didn’t much care for this film.  It seemed to be asking me to be empathetic with the main characters’ mutual love for each other, even though I didn’t know them at all as characters.  Of course I couldn’t empathize with them; I didn’t know them.  Their love for each other meant nothing to me.  It was too generic.

But over the course of the next two acts, I began to understand that this really isn’t so much a typical character-centered film.  This film is more about the ideas, the themes that carry through a series of vignettes.  We never really come to empathize with the characters for who they are.  In fact, they remain rather generic throughout all three acts.  But we do come to relate to the emotions they go through, the ideas their situations illustrate.  Those include the feelings of a relationship fading, the longing and searching, trying to recreate the experiences of that relationship, trying to find new beginnings, the realization that your desires may be forever unfulfilled, etc.  The theme of speed is comes a lot, how fast things are moving and its inevitability.  (The title comes from the speed at which cherry blossoms fall.)  In the end, though it’s far from a traditional sort of story-driven film, it is rather poetic.

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