Her eventual confession may come as an anticlimax to some, but it brings to light a new similarity between the two women, and expresses the film’s real theme: What if one loses everything that matters, not due to a natural disaster or predestined fate, but through one’s own folly?How does one move on and forgive one’s own mistakes?

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Lenser Hanno Lentz’s gorgeous black-and-white images of the decimated landscape, blended seamlessly with discreetly chosen news footage, reinforce the surreal, apocalyptic scenario.

Particularly indelible are sweeping shots of innumerable bags of toxic nuclear waste, neatly piled into symmetrical mounds as though part of an eerie art installation.

Like the heroine of Doerrie’s “Nobody Loves Me,” Marie is a black hole of insecurity and self-absorption, obviously not up to the job.

Capturing First World guilt and its underlying schadenfreude in a nutshell, she blurts out: “I thought I’d feel better if I’m in a place where people have a hard time.” After sneaking crabby old lady Satomi (Kaori Momoi) back to her ruined house in a heavily radiated zone, now dubiously declared safe by the government, Marie decides to move in with her.

The epilogue, which features stills of old ladies in front of picket lines calling for an end to nuclear power in Japan, serves as the film’s only overtly political statement, but its impact is poignant and stirring enough to elicit applause from the audience.

Momoi, who cultivates an outre, wise-cracking image both in public and on screen, is probably better suited for this role than other Japanese actresses, who might be more nuanced and self-effacing.

Co-producers, Roland Zelles, Martin Moszkowicz, Caroline von Senden, Olaf Grunert, Andreas Schreitmueller. Camera (B&W, widescreen, HD), Hanno Lentz; editor, Frank Mueller; music/music supervisor, Ulrike Haage; production designer, Sango Nakamura; set decorator, Yoko Kyono; costume designer, Katherina Ost, Tony Crosbie; sound (5.1), Christof Ebhardt; re-recording mixer, Christian Bischoff; line producer, Patrick Zorer; associate producers, Ruth Stadler, Ewerhard Engels; casting, Sadami Hwang.

When he is contacted by Matthew, a childhood friend from "the system"...

Ulrike Haage’s futuristic score, with its discordant piano notes and droning electronic tune, goes hand-in-hand with Christof Ebhardt’s piercing sound mix to create a broad range of moods, from chaotic to uncanny to hilarious and absurd.

The German title means “Greetings From Fukushima.” (Germany) A Match Factory presentation of a Olga Film production, in association with Rolize Constantin Film Prod., ZDF, Arte, FFF Bayern (International sales: the Match Factory, Cologne, Germany.) Produced by Harold Kugler, Molly von Furstenberg.

In addition to the more exotic and crowd-pleasing “Cherry Blossoms” (2008), also about a German traveler trying to overcome personal loss by soaking up foreign culture, Doerrie has set other films in Japan, such as “A Fisherman and His Wife” and “Enlightenment Guaranteed.” Having traveled all over the country some 25 times, she evinces a deeper understanding of Japanese aesthetics and social dynamics than, say, Abbas Kiarostami did in “Like Someone in Love.” Although she employs blunt metaphors involving tea ceremonies and geishas, and a recurrent cat’s meow doesn’t quite work as a motif implying that one cannot bring back the dead, Doerrie doesn’t presume to understand or verbalize what the living victims of such cataclysmic misfortune feel.