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Departures-Movie Review*** 01/09/2011

Posted by Films to consider in Dark Comedy, Emotional Drama, Japanese language film, Movies.

Departures (Japanese) 2008

Among other awards and nominations:
Winner, Best Foreign Language Film, Academy Awards
Winner, Best Director, Award of the Japanese Academy
Winner, Best Film; Best Director; Best Actor (Motoki), Kinema Junpo Awards
Winner, Best Actor (Motoki), Asian Film Awards; Japanese Academy Awards

Directed by Yôjirô Takita
Starring Masahiro Motoki, Ryoko Hirosue, and Tsutomu Yamazaki

Diago (Motoki), a young cellist, loses his job when the orchestra he plays in folds. He decides he is not talented enough to get another such position and moves back to his hometown with his wife Mika (Hirosue). There he takes the first job he can find without having a clear idea what his duties are. Feeling led by fate, he starts working as the assistant to a “Nokanshi,” the person who prepares a dead body for burial. Diago doesn’t tell Mika what he does, knowing that she, like others, would not respect his choice. Eventually his work allows him to resolve an emotional hurt from his boyhood.

There is a certain amount of dark humor about the subject of death, especially with the attitude of Diago’s boss (Yamazaki), but overall this is a very moving story that shows great respect for the traditions of Japanese culture.

130 min. Rated PG-13



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