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

THE SACRED TRIANGLE; BOWIE, IGGY AND LOU 1971-1973 (Sexy Intellectual/Triton DVD)

THE SACRED TRIANGLE; BOWIE, IGGY AND LOU 1971-1973 (Sexy Intellectual/Triton DVD)

It's hard to believe but in the same year as the Velvet Underground's debut album came out, David Bowie's new single was The Laughing Gnome, a gimmick song and another desperate step in trying to... > Read more

THE JOE STRUMMER STORY, a documentary by MIKE PARKINSON (DV1 DVD/Southbound)

THE JOE STRUMMER STORY, a documentary by MIKE PARKINSON (DV1 DVD/Southbound)

With each passing year the myth and power of Joe Strummer seems to grow as his story has its contradictions and inconveniences ironed out. His wilderness years after the Clash are all but ignored... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

ERSATZ ZEPPELINS IN CONCERTS (2017) The battle of . . . even more

ERSATZ ZEPPELINS IN CONCERTS (2017) The battle of . . . even more

Around the time of the launch of the first Beatles' Anthology collection in '95 – kicked off by the “new” song Free As a Bird – the lonely voices from the balcony became... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE PRODUCER QUESTIONNAIRE: Levi Patel

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE PRODUCER QUESTIONNAIRE: Levi Patel

Composer/producer Levi Patel has just released one of New Zealand's most beautiful and sophisticated debut albums with Affinity. After two EPs – Forms three years ago, and Of Sleep And... > Read more