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Cherry Blossom Festival features Japanese films, music and family events

The Buffalo Cherry Blossom Festival is one of the Queen City’s unique celebrations, encompassing parties, music, kids’ events and cinema from May 2 to 6.

Before the official opening, however, the North Park Theatre (1428 Hertel Ave.) is presenting a two-film series April 28 and 29. It starts with the New York State premiere of the legal drama “The Third Murder”  at 11:30 a.m. on April 28.

The film represents a bit of a departure for Hirokazu Kore-eda, the acclaimed director of big-hearted dramas “Like Father, Like Son” and “After the Storm.” In the twist-filled “Murder,” a defense attorney attempts to decipher if his client is guilty.

Next is “Oh, Lucy!” at 11:30 a.m. on April 29. This dark comedy is about a lonely woman (Shinobu Terajima) in Tokyo who becomes intrigued by her English teacher (Josh Hartnett). This one goes to some somber places, but it’s also full of humor, and anchored by a wonderful lead performance from Terajima. It is also showing at 4:30 and 7 p.m. April 23 through 25 and 4:30 p.m. April 26.

Both films are smart, well-acted, and a bit puzzling, and make for strong post-viewing conversations. Tickets are $10.50 and can be bought at northparktheatre.org or at the door.

The rest of the Cherry Blossom Festival takes place mainly at the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park or at the nearby Buffalo History Museum (1 Museum Ct.). It includes the festival opening and tasting event from 5 to 7 p.m. on May 2 at the History Museum for ages 21-and-older ($20, or $15 for members); a full music day courtesy of Music Is Art from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 5; and an orienteering event for walkers and runners at 11 a.m. on May 6.

Family Day on May 6 is highlighted by a Japanese fairy tale puppet show and a “pink parade.” This free event runs from noon to 3 p.m. at the History Museum.

For more information and a full schedule, visit buffalocherryblossomfestival.org.

*Read more on the city's Cherry Blossom celebration by learning about Lockhouse's Sakura Gin:

Lockhouse Sakura Gin celebrates the cherry blossom

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