Departures | Okuribito | おくりびと Fascinating, witty and Heart-warming, Not to be missed
Empire Magazine December 4, 2019
Yojiro Takita offers a refreshingly light and life-affirming vision of how we can reconcile ourselves with death and dying. -- Tribeca Film Festival
All three actors are skilled in communicating difficult emotions just with their faces and in bringing to life the gentle humor that leavens this very affecting movie about death and letting go. --Kelly Jane Torrance, Washington Times
In "Departures, life and death are two expressive movements of one musical" piece. Neither is taken as a polar opposite of the other; they dance rhythmically, like the ebb and flow of the ocean tide. --Antonio Sison, National Catholic Reporter
With the breakup of his Tokyo orchestra, Daigo, a young cellist, decides to return with his adoring wife Mika to his hometown in Japan’s far north.
Searching for work, he responds to a cryptic classified ad for work in “Departures” only to find out that the position is in the field of “encoffining,” the ritual preparation of a corpse before it is placed in a casket for cremation.
Daigo gradually takes to the work and finds he has a real talent, but he is too ashamed to tell Mika, leaving him torn between his true calling and his marriage.
Winner of the Academy Award for best foreign language film this year, Departures achieves a pleasingly droll blend of screwball-like humor with a moving story about reconciliation, acceptance, and finding one’s place in the world, enhanced by a richly orchestrated score.
By taking us into the uniquely Japanese tradition of the “Nokanshi”-who washes, dresses, and grooms the dead body in front of the deceased’s family, helping the living to bid farewell and the dead to move on to the next world-director Yojiro Takita also offers a refreshingly light and life-affirming vision of how we can reconcile ourselves with death and dying. -- Tribeca Film Festival
"... ironically, there is something similar between the process of encoffinment and the act of playing the cello. When you play the cello, the instrument has a human, curvaceous form. The cellist embraces that form when playing the instrument, very loving, affectionate. That's very similar, physically, to the actions of the encoffiner, cradling the body, being tender and gentle with it." -- Yojiro Takita