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

ERIC CLAPTON; THE 1960s REVIEW (Chrome Dreams/Triton DVD)

ERIC CLAPTON; THE 1960s REVIEW (Chrome Dreams/Triton DVD)

Eric Clapton has made a somewhat sudden appearance in the past month with a survey of his early career here, the album with John Mayall and also his Journeyman popping up as a Bargain Buy. Now... > Read more

DAVID BOWIE; VH1 STORYTELLERS (EMI CD/DVD)

DAVID BOWIE; VH1 STORYTELLERS (EMI CD/DVD)

At the very end of the Nineties, David Bowie released one of his best album in years, Hours. Unfortunately by that time fewer and fewer people were listening to him. He'd started the decade... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Graham Parker: Between You and Me (1975)

Graham Parker: Between You and Me (1975)

It's all every well to ridicule Dick Rowe of Decca Records for turning the Beatles down after an audition in '62 ("Not to mince words, Mr Epstein, we don't like your boys' sound. Groups are... > Read more

The Herd: From the Underworld (1967)

The Herd: From the Underworld (1967)

It's not often Greek mythology cracks the top 10, but the Herd managed to do it with song from the autumn of love (September '67) which is based on the Orpheus and Eurydice story. After the... > Read more