Academy Award® Winner for Best Foreign Language Film of the year, "Departures" is a delightful and sensitive journey into the heartland of Japan and an astonishingly beautiful look at a sacred part of Japan’s cultural heritage.
A premiere symphony orchestra in Tokyo disbands, leaving Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki) suddenly unemployed. Suffering from an innate sense that he is a mediocre musician, he faces up to the fact that not everyone who has devoted their life to music can become a top artist. With wife Mika (Ryoko Hirosue) in tow, he moves back to his home town in the northeastern prefecture of Yamagata. They move into the crumbling remains of his mother’s house, which doubled as the local pub.
Spotting a Help Wanted ad featuring the word “departures,” he is excited about the prospect of trying a new career in the travel industry. He arrives for the interview, curiously eyeing the coffins lining the back wall of the office. The company owner, Sasaki (Tsutomu Yamazaki), hires him on the spot, with only a cursory glance at his resume. Daigo finally ventures to ask what is involved, exactly, and is stunned to learn what he has gotten himself into: the ceremonial “encoffination” of corpses prior to cremation.
A story of love, of discovery, of revelation and of the transcending human spirit, "Departures" will linger in your heart and mind long after viewing.
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