Daigo Kobayashi is a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and now finds himself without a job. Daigo decides to move back to his old hometown with his wife to look for work and start over. He answers a classified ad entitled "Departures" thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency only to discover that the job is actually for a "Nokanshi" or "encoffineer," a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life. While his wife and others despise the job, Daigo takes a certain pride in his work and begins to perfect the art of "Nokanshi," acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the family of the departed. The film follows his profound and sometimes comical journey with death as he uncovers the wonder, joy and meaning of life and living.Written by
Although the character of Mika was initially planned as being the same age as Daigo, the role went to pop singer Ryôko Hirosue, who had previously acted in Takita's Himitsu (Secret) in 1999. Takita explained that a younger actress would better represent the lead couple's growth out of naivety. In a 2009 interview, Takita stated that he had cast "everyone who was on my wish list". See more »
[voice over narration]
When I was a child winter didn't feel so cold. It's nearly two months since I moved home from Tokyo. It's been an awkward time.
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This film is about an unemployed man taking up a job as a person who prepares body before putting into the coffin.
"Departures" is a beautiful film. It is about the last journey before a person is reduced to ashes, yet it never feels gloomy. In fact, it shows that all humans die one day, and it is how we view it and how those left behind cope with death that matters. Kobayashi treats the bodies with such enormous respect and dignity, which touches me a lot. "Departures" is a film to feel. It makes you think and feel about such a taboo topic which is not normally discussed. I commend the filmmakers for making "Departures". It's a must see.
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