Irish Film Institute -DEPARTURES


Director: Yojiro Takita

130 minutes| Japan| 2008|Subtitled| Colour| Dolby Stereo| 35mm

This film was released 2nd January 2010, and is no longer screening.

Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, director Yojiro Takita’s drama conjures an arresting story from unlikely subject matter: the travails of a cash-strapped cellist who takes on a new job preparing corpses for Japanese funeral rites. Returning to his late mum’s place in the small town where he grew up, Daigo (Masahiro Motoki) answers a job ad he presumes is for a travel company, but ends up learning how to wash and dress the dead before the funeral companies take the bodies away. It’s a metier with no equivalent in western culture, and although Daigo initially can’t even break the news to his wife, he soon realises the extent to which his efforts bring genuine consolation, giving him the fortitude to face the unresolved emotional issues in his own life. This fundamentally warm-hearted film finds a balance of humour and sobriety in its touching exploration of both the pain and the catharsis involved in saying our farewells. Notes by Trevor Johnston.

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