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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 33 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 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 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:

$2,194,799 (Japan), 14 September 2008, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$74,945, 29 May 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,542,989, 20 June 2010
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

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 »

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 Siskel & Ebert: The Worst Films of 2009 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Okuribito
Written by AI and Joe Hisaishi
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The odd job
19 March 2009 | by ethSinSee all my reviews

"Okuribito", literally "The person who sees off", is about a supposedly untalented cellist's new job. After returning to hometown as a failure in the music world, he applies for a job with vague description. It turns out to be a job posting for "encoffiner", a person who performs rites and rituals before placing the body into the coffin. A 'tainted' job in the eyes of the society, but he eventually develops pride and purpose in this profession.

The movie started with subtle humor that had me chuckling for first hour, but I was slowly drawn into the story. It turned out to be a very touching and deep film.

The acting in this film was superb. Motoki Tomohiro's performance was especially amazing, hilarious at times, and played the serious and professional scenes very convincingly. I also really liked his narration, which really sets the mood and tone of the following scenes. Yamazaki Tsutomu was also excellent as the protagonist's cool mentor. The film had incredibly nice flow and very well-directed. Music in this movie played a huge role, expressing the protagonist's feelings and harmonized with every scene. It was simply beautiful.

This movie gave me a glimpse of the profession of "encoffiner", as a very respectable job, as it requires absolute accuracy, professionalism, and the respect for the dead even though it is looked down by the society. It is the encoffiner who sees off a person's last journey after dressing them up. This movie successfully depicts the pride in one's job, and questions the meaning of death.


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