Departures is a film full of sincere beauty. Everything about this film, it's content included is about the beauty you find within every circumstance and to that, the most dire. Daigo (Masahiro Motoki) a retrenched cellist is in need of a new job. The job is that of encoffinment which is preparing the dead for burial. Daigo never tells his wife, after-all he is coming home everyday having bathed and cleaned the dead, he only takes the job as to support his family. This is not a film about afterlife and having the dead enter that realm, it is simply about all the people who are left behind once a death has occurred. Unlike anything I have ever seen before there is a lengthy, done with care and absolute respect. I won't say more, for this film is all about feeling and not thought, something you should have lack-there-of while viewing this impressive film.
If you have noticed already from the list of films I am compiling, I have a soft spot for serious drama that can make you laugh at all the right times, Departures does just that. There is a soft humour but it never interferes with the ensuing story, it only helps us see the lighter side, it does not allow us to fear the death themes but with that allows us to understand and accept the tradition of departing gracefully and with respect.
There are many films that try to tap into the beauty of something so dire, Yojiro Takita does it with humility and sincerity. Departures is a film that must be seen if not for anything but for it's beauty.
100 Films You Must See
#98 Groundhog Day
#97 The Castle
#92 Okuribitu (Departures)