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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It had been years ago since a movie moved me so much that it had brought tears to my eyes, but I couldn't keep my eyes dry while experiencing Okuribito. The story, acting, music and photography are all very impressive.
I guess everyone can in some way relate to the emotions that are conveyed in Okuribito. In my humble opinion this movie is a classic in the likes of Akira Kurosawa's and Yasujiro Ozu's best work: subtle, elegant, serene, soulful, touching and timelessly beautiful. This kind of cinematic storytelling stands high above the usual formula-driven, soulless, commercial Hollywood crap.
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