DEPARTURES, a film by YOJIRO TAKITA (Madman DVD)

 |   |  1 min read

DEPARTURES, a film by YOJIRO TAKITA (Madman DVD)

The on-going economic downturn in Japan -- which has seen thousands of salarymen laid off and emotionally adrift -- has lead to a number of films addressing that issue of dislocation and disruption in a society which had promised and expected conformity and security.

The beautiful Tokyo Sonata by Kiyoshi Kurosawa was a heartbreaking insight into the lengths one man would go to keep up the appearance of being employed, and his guilty secret from his disintegrating family.

This equally moving film -- which won the 2009 Academy Award for best foreign film -- looks at a not dissimilar situation when a young, newly married cellist Daigo loses his job when the sponsor pulls of supporting the orchestra. He and his wife move back to his small hometown and he applies for a job in a business which gives the film its title. 

It gives nothing away to tell that the position isn't in a travel company, but is as a funeral celebrant who also prepares bodies. He keeps the position a secret from his wife, but cannot for too long.

Moving and yet at times peppered with necessary humour, Departures is a quiet film where emotions are often to be read rather than said, but as Daigo takes an increasing pride in his work then as his wife becomes gradually alienated a very real human drama is acted out against sometimes very beautiful rural (and rather ordinary urban) backdrops and the pain of families at an emotional pivot in their lives.

Beautifully crafted, emotionally understated and with sympathetic performances, Departures is an exceptional insight into culture, and people's lives when it crumbles. 

Share It

Your Comments

The Right Rev. Wilkshire Itchybottom - Jun 15, 2010



I cannot recommend this film enough. The cinematography, the music, IT ALL WORKS. It plays with all of your emotions (a grown man cried like a baby) and leaves you spent afterwards.

Good pick, Graham.

post a comment

More from this section   Film articles index

KENNETH WILLIAMS: An Audience with Kenneth Williams (DVD, Madman)

KENNETH WILLIAMS: An Audience with Kenneth Williams (DVD, Madman)

Even if you'd only ever seen one film in Carry On series and hated it, you'd still remember Kenneth Williams and his nasal delivery, high camp mannerisms, effeminate manner and innuendo-laden quips... > Read more

MOLLY MELDRUM PROFILED (2017): Video star killing them at radio

MOLLY MELDRUM PROFILED (2017): Video star killing them at radio

On this side of the Tasman, Ian “Molly” Meldrum probably means as much to rock aficionados as Karyn Hay means to Australians. All that might be about to change however with the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Steve Kuhn: Mostly Coltrane (ECM/Ode)

Steve Kuhn: Mostly Coltrane (ECM/Ode)

Even those jazz listeners not usually drawn to the sound and style of many albums on the ECM label would find the pedigree of the players here, and the topic of their conversation, mighty... > Read more

Florence, Italy: A long way from Footscray

Florence, Italy: A long way from Footscray

The instructions on how to get to her hotel were quite specific: she said they were located directly opposite Cartier. Which was true, but it might have been equally easy to describe it as being... > Read more