Daigo, a cellist, is laid off from his orchestra and moves with his wife back to his small hometown where the living is cheaper. Thinking he’s applying for a job at a travel agency he finds he’s being interviewed for work with departures of a more permanent nature – as an undertaker’s assistant.
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I just recently saw this with my mother, as she told me that this film was a masterpiece. I was quite reluctant to see this, but when I did, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only is the movie funny, but there are some pretty sad momments as well. I highly recommend this movie.
SPOILER: Although the movie is EXTREMELY good, there was only one minor flaw i found. Number 1: When Daigo and his other ochestra players were told that the ochestra is closed, I found that they left the room in an extremely fast time, as if they were expecting that the ochestra will close.
Departures (G) * * * * *
Director: Yojiri Takita
Stars: Masahiro Motoki,
Audience Suitability: G
Rating: * * * * *
Running Time: 130 Minutes
Release Date: June 12, 2009
By ROBERT WALDMAN
Please do not judge a book by its cover. Sage advice like this can also be applied to a variety of things be they people or movies. Mention a title like Departures and one might automatically think of airlines and travel. Runaway foreign hit Departures makes its fitting arrival in B.C. hot on the heels of snaring the best foreign film Oscar. Fresh from Japan this outstanding movie may bring tears to eyes focused at The Park Theatre thanks to distributor VKPR.
Off we go to Japan to see a monumental tale of a man seemingly at the crossroads in this life. Performing live is the end all and be all for Daigo Kobayashi. Being a master of the cello this gifted man just adores playing in the Tokyo Symphony. Low ticket sales, however, see the orchestra fall apart leaving Daigo in search of sustainability.
Out of work and in need of cash Daigo becomes involved in a unique business that comes as a rather novel departure from his current occupation. Alongside loving wife Mika the two carve out a new home in the countryside. Somewhat ashamed of his new work Daigo at first finds the job challenging but over time, and under the able tutelage of owner Ikuei Sasaki the apprentice turns into a master performer.
Ancient Japanese rituals are smartly addressed by director Yojiri Takita who pulls off just a masterpiece of a small little movie concentrating on people trying to get by and a type of fear and prejudice clouding the way. Renewal and acceptance is what Departures is all about and the way the characters change over time will make all onlookers smile deep inside.
Cast as Daigo is Masahiro Motoki who turns in a powerful performance as a musician forced to make some pretty big choices that will impact him and his family. One canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t overemphasize the importance that culture, religion and ritual play in this one of a king movie that will shine new light on getting old and trying to come to terms with living in the present.
Smart, poignant and meaningful, Departures turns out to be one of the best movies in any year and from any land. What this 130 minute tale does is also opens up a whole new world of tradition and hanging on that few of us are bound to ever see.
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