(image from :http://www.traileraddict.com/content/regent-releasing/departures.jpg)
Once glance at the title and one might be deceived and taken with ideas dealing with transportation or simply leaving. But to clarify such misconceptions, “The Departures” or “Okoribitu” is a Japanese Film directed by Yojiro Takita, which depicts the peaceful departures of the dead through the help of the professional men who deal with assisting and grooming the corpses. With this unconventional concept of the film, which might be considered taboo for some, it successfully depicts the struggles of the main character with his life through the dead.
The opening scene of the film with Kobayashi saying the lines, “When I was a child, winter didn’t feel so cold. It’s nearly two months since I moved from Tokyo. It’s been an awkward time,” makes the opening of the film’s mood nostalgic for the character. During the latter part of the film, this part can also be seen. The story revolves around the character of Daigo Kobayashi, a cellist from Tokyo who faces hard times after his choir disbanded. Together with his wife, they move to the small town and live in the house that was given by Kobayashi’s mom. In his pursuit of finding another job, he comes to find a new job with a huge salary but the catch is that it involves assisting the “departed” or the corpses on their way to have their peaceful death. With that in mind, he tries to cover up the nature of his job to his wife. But then through his job, he comes to see his father for one last time at the end.
Masahiro Motoki, who plays as Kobayashi, portrays the character role with great emotions. He transcends from being the man who easily gets disgusted by seeing a corpse to a man who fights for this kind of profession that of which some people around him thinks is not “normal” job. There is this one comedy scene in the film wherein he was supposed to act as a corpse for a film and he acts in this hilarious way and he does so in an effortless way. Asides from that, the scenes where he prepares the corpse are the most beautiful scenes of the film since everything that that is involved such changing the clothes, washing the body, grooming, and applying make up, are done in a manner that is so gentle, and peaceful, and it is evident that there is so much respect that is given to the corpses.
Overall, this moving film is a definite tearjerker that touches every possible living soul. The film manifests the beauty of both the living and the dead. It makes any one realize how we tend to have low regard for unorthodox professions that we have not even come to think of. But the film portrays such great beauty on the job of the those who assist the departed ones because they take such great care to prepare the corpses fro their peaceful and solemn journey and for the loved ones to see them one last time at their most beautiful.
PS. I cried buckets while watching the film :(
But I hope you'll watch it too!