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Visit the active LitNet platform at www.litnet.co.za

Vermaak | Entertainment > Film > Resensies | Reviews

Mini-review: Departures both heartbreaking and uplifting

Reney Warrington - 2010-01-18

Director: Yojiro Takita
Rolverdeling: Masahiro Motoki, Ryoko Hirosue, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Kimiko Yo, Takashi Sasano

Only the Japanese can make a film that is both heartbreaking and uplifting without turning soppy. Departures moved me to tears, but was always authentic. It celebrates life through showing a deep respect for death.

Daigo loses his job as an orchestra cellist, moves back to his hometown, and answers a newspaper ad for what he thinks is a job at a travel agency. The ad contained a spelling mistake, though. Departures was meant to be The Departed. Yes, the job entails preparing the departed for burial/cremation.

There is no surprising twist in the tale. You know what is coming. Daigo is removed from himself, from the process of death. As he starts his job he moves closer to life, himself and the people in his life. The beauty of this film lies, however, in the understated way the story is told and the graceful acting of the whole cast.

Where films such as (the hugely enjoyable) Inglorious Bastards has no moral compass (even for a Tarantino film), Departures is the exact opposite. It takes you into a sacred part of Japanese culture: Nokanshi, or “encoffineering”, and demonstrates the value of life and having respect and patience for those sharing their lives with you.

Watch the preview on YouTube.