5 Centimetres Per Second (2007)
Cherry blossoms fall at 5 centimetres per second. That’s not important, other than setting a nice slow and steady tone. Despite being split into three episodes, this really is essentially a film in three acts. The only difference being the time separation between the three. The reason is the expanse of this. Telling Takaki’s life story at three separate intervals. Act 1 is slow, dreamy and hopeful. A budding relationship with Takaki and his young friend Akari. He lives in Tokyo, she’s moved out to the countryside with her family. It’s a tale of longing, letters and love put on hold. On hold until Takaki goes to visit. This whole sequence is the highlight for me, as he travels by train at night. Alone for the first time as the weather worsens and his train is delayed. The lighting is heavenly and the detail, the depth, it’s remarkable. The excitement of adventure makes way for his palpable anxiety and that anxiety transfers to us as Takaki gets stuck, helpless. The expectations on will they meet, how will it be after all this time, all those letters. It’s the energy that carries the rest of the film as we find Takaki, a little older, now the focus of Kanae’s attentions. We follow her thoughts. Her longing. Her overwhelming feelings of unrequited love, but finding her balance, positivity, by taking one step at a time. It’s melancholic as we teach the end, an interesting look at the way a life changes with the passage of time. It’s not a classic, but at a thrifty one hour runtime, well worth a watch.