You have not known what you are.
You have slumbered upon yourself all your life.
Your eyes have been as much as closed most of the time.
What you have done is already in mockeries.

The mockeries are not you.
Underneath them
And within them,
I see you lurk...

-Walt Whitman


of dreams, death and stone letters

Departures (Okuribito, 2009) by Yojiro Takira

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%

Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki) is a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and now finds himself 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.

Urgh! Heart-wrenching and deeply moving this movie is. The score alone brought me into a warm and gloomy place. But more importantly, it made me remember how grief feels like. It's really curious how such emotion manifests itself differently to those who experience it, and yet be universal at the same time...


Roland said...

one of the best films i´ve ever seen. all the elements on this movie is superb. such a woderful experience seeing this kind.

this film taught me one great lesson, that in everything, we should do it with joy, heart, and pride.

wanderingcommuter said...

interesting... do you know where to get a copy???