Friday, September 11, 2009

departures

the art of the finale...


after the orchestra he plays in is dissolved, daigo (masahiro motoki) and his wife (ryoko hirosue) move back to his home town to look for work and a fresh start. when daigo sees an advert for a job in "departures" for an "nk agency", he assumes that it is as a travel agent and goes to apply. after being asked if he will work hard, he is offered the job and given a sizeable cash advance; it is then that he realises the true nature of the job. 'nk' is an abbreviation for 'nokanshi': someone who prepares the bodies of the dead, for their departure in to the afterlife. there is no small stigma attached to this role but, with the money being so very welcome and under the guidance of his new boss, mr sasaki(tsutomu yamazaki), diago soon becomes drawn into this strange world of ceremony. although, he decides it's probably best to not mention it to his wife...

winner of the oscar for best foreign language film, 'departures' is a drama, with touches of melodrama and comedy. masahiro motoki is a japanese actor who i always like to see and he's come a long way since cropping up in a couple of early masayuki suo films and he was great in miike's 'the bird people of china'. ooh, it's about time i watched that again. any hoo, i digress; motoki is a fine lead here, guiding the viewer into this strange and unusual world. the film does, as it runs its course, veer towards sentimentality but, by this time, it has more than earned the right. the film is a little treat, and having a joe hisashi score does it no harm at all.

good stuff.

the dvd is hk$91 from buyoyo.com

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