Based on a comic by Akimi Yoshida, SAKURA NO SONO (English title: THE CHERRY ORCHARD) tells the story about an all-girl's high school preparing and rehearsing for their annual performance of Chekov's play.  The unpretentiousness and beauty of shun Nakahara's minimalist direction make that the film looks and works like an actual play, complete with a stage-like composition and long master shots with no cuts.  Except for three short scenes outside the school building the film takes place entirely inside the school, and the rehearsal room in particular.

Behind the scenes drama makes up the biggest part of the story.  A girl got her hair in a permanent.  Somebody rings the fire alarm.  And the school is discussing whether or not to cancel the play because the night before one of the girls was seen smoking.  All trivialities but the way the film sucks you into its protected universe you really think of these problems as being the end of the world.

Sakura No Sono  

Review of the film and DVD by Jeroen   

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As for the characters, the film focuses on Chiyoko - who wanted to play a male part in the play - and Yuko and their suppressed affection for each other.  The scene towards the end of the two of them posing for a portrait is truly wonderful.  Dressed in their Russian stage costumes, the camera on self-timer.  When they move closer together for each following shot ultimately their faces touch in the most gentle way, and they smile.

The metaphors are all obvious, but that doesn't make them any less beautiful.  The cherry blossoms symbolize the fleeting youth and beauty of the girls.  The play represents 'later', and the uncertainty of the future.  The final scene shows Yuko walking on stage carrying a candleholder while being blinded by the spotlight.  The picture drowns in white, voices fading into the background.  Cut to the empty rehearsal room, the last light of day touching the floor of the dim room.  Even the end credits have meaning in this film: when the last line rolls of the screen the picture zooms in on one of the open windows, showing fresh Sakura leafs being blown into the empty room.

FILM and DVD Details 

Region 2, NTSC, oar 1.85:1, 16:9 enhanced, film-sourced.  Audio Dolby digital 2.0 Japanese with optional English subtitles.  This disc looks great!  Very smooth and film-like picture with not a trace of edge enhancement or excessive filtering.  Rich colors, deep blacks, and detail level that's just a tad below perfection.  Check out the scenes outside with trees in the background, you can almost count the number of leafs. Only complaint is that shadow detail could be better.  It's no big deal but in a film that features girls wearing black uniforms in almost every frame you can't help but notice the lack of detail in the dark fabric.  Film grain is noticeable if you look for it.  This is good.  Audio is fine.  The delicate piano music sounds wonderful while dialog is always clear.  I didn't notice a/v sync problems.

Full Cast and Crew for
Sakura no sono (1990)
 

Directed by 
Shun Nakahara 

Writing credits 
Yoshida Akimi (book) 
Hiroaki Jinno 

Cast (in credits order) 
Hiroko Nakajima .... Yuko Shimizu 
Miho Tsumiki .... Noriko Sugiyama 
Yasuyo Shiroshima .... Chiyoko Kurata 
Miho Miyazawa .... Kaori Jomaru 
Aki Kajiwara .... Maki Kubota 
Yuki Minowa .... Mayumi Omachi 
Miki Shiraishi .... Kazuyo Hirai 
Yumi Goto .... Reiko Toda 
Megumi Iseri .... Kimiko Kawai 
Miki Kongoji .... Shimako Inoue 
Kayo Sugawara .... Atsuko Nakano 
Mitae Nagata .... Chiaki Fujishiro 
Shoko Maruyama .... Tamaki Nakamura 
Rika Furukawa .... Keiko Matsumoto 
Yukie Nishimura .... Kazuko Mishima 
Ryka Yuzuki .... Shiomi Kanagawa 
Yki Sato (I) .... Mariko Takada 
Junko Asanuma .... Kanako Onishi 
Sumiyo Yamada .... Sayuri Horiguchi 
Chieko Shiratori .... Kumi Takano 
Chigusa Abe .... Arimi Tashiro 
Makoto Ohara .... Rumiko Sano 
Natsuko Morisawa .... Student of Seika Girls High School 
Yukiko Nishiyama .... Student of Seika Girls High School 
Yoshimi Uetake .... Student of Seika Girls High School 
Reina Ito .... Fan of Chiyoko 
Noriko Mori .... Fan of Chiyoko 
Mihoko Hirono .... Fan of Chiyoko 
Yuichi Mikami .... Yusuke Shimada 
Yukari Tachibana .... Ayako Nakano 
Kichi Ueda .... Sakaguchi 
Hiroshi Nanbara .... Mr. Nakamura 
rest of cast listed alphabetically 
Maiko Okamoto .... Ms. Satomi (as Mai Okamoto) 

Produced by 
Yutaka Okada .... producer 
Kosaburo Sasaoka .... producer 

Original music by 
Federico Mompou 

Cinematography by 
Junichi Fujisawa 

DVD Details 

 

  • DVD Video
  • Color
  • Layers: single-sided/single-layered
  • Aspect Ratio(s): 16:9 LB Vista
  • Regional Encoding: 2
  • Subtitles: English
  • NTSC Format
  • Audio Track :
      Japanese /Dolby Digital /Monaural
  • Number of discs (or other units): 1
  • Release Date: 2000/10/25


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