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Departures (2008)

Okuribito (original title)
PG-13 | | Drama, Music | 19 June 2009 (USA)
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A newly unemployed cellist takes a job preparing the dead for funerals.

Director:

Yôjirô Takita

Writer:

Kundô Koyama (screenplay)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 36 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Masahiro Motoki ... Daigo Kobayashi
Tsutomu Yamazaki ... Ikuei Sasaki
Ryôko Hirosue ... Mika Kobayashi
Kazuko Yoshiyuki Kazuko Yoshiyuki ... Tsuyako Yamashita
Kimiko Yo ... Yuriko Uemura
Takashi Sasano Takashi Sasano ... Shokichi Hirata
Tetta Sugimoto Tetta Sugimoto ... Yamashita
Tôru Minegishi Tôru Minegishi ... Yoshiki Kobayashi
Tatsuo Yamada Tatsuo Yamada ... Togashi
Yukari Tachibana Yukari Tachibana
Tarô Ishida Tarô Ishida ... Sonezaki
Sanae Miyata Sanae Miyata ... Naomi Togashi
Ryôsuke Ôtani Ryôsuke Ôtani ... Tomeo's father
Mitsuyo Hoshino Mitsuyo Hoshino ... Kazuko Kobayashi
Tatsuhito Okuda
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Storyline

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 Regent Releasing

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The gift of last memories

Genres:

Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

19 June 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Departures See more »

Filming Locations:

Sakata, Yamagata, Japan

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$74,945, 31 May 2009

Gross USA:

$1,498,210

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$69,932,387
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the beginning of the film, after the conversation of Daigo informing his wife about the orchestra getting disbanded, she goes to kitchen to prepare supper but screams looking at the octopus which is not dead yet. Daigo then takes it to a canal and tries to give it a new life but his attempt fails as it is already dead. This foreshadows Diago's next job. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Daigo Kobayashi: [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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Connections

Featured in At the Movies: The Worst Films of 2009 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Ave Maria
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach / Charles Gounod
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Grandeur and noblesse, when death is seen as a prolongation of life
9 November 2009 | by roland-scialomSee all my reviews

The human dimension of this film touched me. Some of these things touched me to tears. I list a few of them.

1. The job of the professionals who prepares the dead for their last contact with the family (wake) and their passage to eternity (cremation). In the film, the characters who perform this job, teach the spectator a true ritual of respect and affection with the dead. "Respect and affection with the dead": feelings that the modern life tries to banish from its practices. In the modern world, the dead are inconvenient and dispatched quickly in funerals where the majority of those who are present, entertain themselves with parallel talks, instead of focusing on the reason why they are there.

2. The nobility and grandeur of this job that, in the film, is not associated with any religion, and is directly associated with dealing with human beings. This nobility and grandeur reflects also on to the dead, in the sense that it reminds us that the dead deserve our respect and affection, because a new stage of our relationship with them is starting.

3.The way Daigo grows, as he learns this job, and overcomes (i)the social stigma that society imposes upon the contact with the dead and, also, the people who have contact with the dead, as well as (ii) his personal repulsion with repulsive material aspects of death (odors, rot, etc.)

4. The way Daigo grows, as he incorporates the nobility and grandeur of the job he was forced to do because of the circumstances (he was jobless because the orchestra where he played cello was dismissed). And, when his wife discovers in what consists his job, and tries to force him to quit, he has grown so much that he chooses to keep the job instead to yield to his wife menaces.

5. The way Daigo grows and which leads him back to play the cello and celebrate life more than ever, playing outdoors and playing at home as he used to do when he was a boy.

6. The way Daigo wife grows when she has the opportunity to look close to the job of her husband, and begins to admire him and love him more. Wife who have the opportunity to convince Daigo to take care of his dead father, when Daigo runs away when he gets aware of his father death. Wife, who, when the opportunity showed up, says with pride to the individuals of the funeral, that were almost doing a dirty job with the deceased Daigo father, "my husband will take care of him, he is a professional"

7. The way Daigo grows when he encounter again the love for his father and forgive him for having abandoned the family, while he prepares his old man for the burial.

8. How death can be seen as part of life process, when it causes some people to become aware of how much love they missed, and how much they have been loved without being aware of it.

All this happens because Daigo goes back to his hometown, a small town. That is, the return to his origins helps to renew the ties with the traditions and helps the character to put himself together again.

I'm omitting many precious details that appear throughout the film. These details must be seen personally, because the film was made with great sensitivity and expertise, and deserves to be seen.

Roland.


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