Reviews, Reports + Comments

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review of film: “DEPARTURES” – Ignore the plot description & ARRIVE to see this! =

Review of film:  DEPARTURESIgnore the plot description & ARRIVE to see this!  =

                         Rating:  9 of 10 stars. 

Date Rated: May 28, 2009 | Rel. Date: May 29, 2009

Upon reading the plot of this, I was UN-eager about seeing it— but when I did, was pleasantly SURPRISED at how excellent it is. Musician Daigo (MASAHIRO MOTOKI) loves playing the cello in his symphony orchestra-- & is devastated when the group has to disband due to economic reverses…

 His chipper wife Mika (RYOKO HIROSUE) is supportive about their returning to his hometown-- & at first doesn’t press him for information on the NEW job he has...

...  He’s reluctant to discuss it with her or others because he’s somewhat ashamed to be involved in his new profession of preparing DECEASED people for their FUNERALS right in front of their family and friends…

 Initially repulsed by the procedures (of cleaning them, preparing their makeup, etc.), he learns from his elderly boss (TSUTOMU YAMAZAKI) that ceremonially treating the people with gentle dignity and respect is deeply APPRECIATED and comforting to the mourners...

...  When people close to him learn what he does, certain ones (including his wife and a friend) respond very negatively

 It’s the interweaving of story lines and interplay between the (finely acted) characters that make this Japanese film touching, special & worthy of the BEST Foreign Language OSCAR®  it won.  

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