May 29, 2009 (NY, LA, CHI, SF)
Studio: Regent Releasing
Director: Yojiro Takita
Screenwriter: Kundo Koyama
Starring: Masahiro Motoki, Ryoko Hirosue, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Kimiko Yo
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for thematic material)
Official Website: Departures-themovie.com
Review: 10/10 rating
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster: View here
Production Stills: View here
Plot Summary: Academy AwardŽ winner for Best Foreign Language Film, "Departures" is a delightful journey into the heartland of Japan as well an astonishingly beautiful look at a sacred part of Japan's cultural heritage.
"Departures" follows Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki), a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and who is suddenly left without a job. Daigo decides to move back to his old hometown with his wife to look for work and start over. He answers a classified ad entitled "Departures" thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency only to discover that the job is actually for a "Nokanshi" or "encoffineer," a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life. While his wife and others despise the job, Daigo takes a certain pride in his work and begins to perfect the art of "Nokanshi," acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the family of the departed. The film follows his profound and sometimes comical journey with death as he uncovers the wonder, joy and meaning of life and living.
4 Clips (5.24.09):