Departures

2009 | 131 min. minutes | Rated PG-13

Much like its American contemporary Sunshine Cleaning, Yôjirô Takita's Departures uses the death-care industry as framework for a transformative discovery of self. But while Sunshine Cleaning had its protagonists scrubbing grimy death scenes, Departures' Daigo (Masahiro Motoki) finds his identity through the elegant, serene Japanese nokan ceremony of "encoffinment." A failed professional cellist, Daigo learns the careful art of washing, dressing, and decorating bodies for burial or cremation. While moving and carefully done, Departures is hardly revelatory--it sticks to tear-jerking iterations on circle-of-life themes.

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Film Credits
Director
Yojiro Takita
Cast
Masahiro Motoki, Ryoko Hirosue, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Kimiko Yo, Takashi Sasano, Tôru Minegishi, Tetta Sugimoto, Yukiko Tachibana, Tatsuo Yamada