Departures

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Departures

A newly unemployed cellist takes a job preparing the dead for funerals. Director Yojiro Takita and writer Kundo Koyama examine the rituals surrounding death in Japan with this tale of an out-of-work cellist who accepts a job as a "Nokanashi" or "encoffineer" (the Japanese equivalent of an undertaker) in order to provide for himself and his young wife. Winner of an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, Departures is a 2008 Japanese drama film directed by Yōjirō Takita and starring Masahiro Motoki, Ryōko Hirosue, and Tsutomu Yamazaki. The film follows a young man who returns to his hometown after a failed career as a cellist and stumbles across work as a nōkanshi—a traditional Japanese ritual mortician. He is subjected to prejudice from those around him, including from his wife, because of strong social taboos against people who deal with death.

Critic Reviews

‘Fascinating, witty and heartfelt.’ Times UK ‘Moments of clarity and pragmatism are contradicted by flashes of inanity and dry, if well-delivered humour.’ Little White Lies ‘Departure's cynicism, ironically, is what makes the optimism of its last act so moving.’ London Evening Standard

Awards

Academy Awards, USA 2009, winner of an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2009, Asia Pacific Screen Award winner of the Best Performance by an Actor Asian Film Awards 2009, winner of the Asian Film Award for Best Actor Hong Kong Film Awards 2010, winner of best asian film