Friday, May 1, 2009

Departures - A Must See Movie

Picture from here

I visited Singapore sometime in March 2009 and my highschool buddy, Mitchie highly recommended that we watch a Japanese movie entitled, Departures. Since I was only staying there for a night, we had to squeeze this in. My friend studied film so I surmised she must know what she's talking about. Never mind if we had to catch the movie around midnight.

The film features Daigo, a cellist, who lost his job when the Tokyo symphony orchestra disbanded. Not having the confidence to pursue his dream of becoming an A-class musician, he decided to relocate back to his hometown with his wife in tow in search for a job there.

He took interest in an ad which mentioned "departures", thinking that this job was related to the travel industry. He was hired on the spot with a huge pay check. Little did he know that this job had nothing to do with the travel industry and everything to do with preparing the dead before cremation.

Having been "forced" into accepting a job that is not respectable in society plus dealing with internal struggles from the past, makes Daigo's character vulnerable and human. And yet in the end respectable.

The movie makes the viewer feel a myriad of emotions. It will make you laugh, wonder in amazement, and cry. The music beautifully highlights scenes in the movie which tug at the heart.

It's no wonder it won the best foreign language film in the recent Academy Awards.

Based on the film's official website, Departures has been awarded the following:

Winner 10 Japan Academy Prize Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor
Winner - Grand Prix de Ameriques: 32nd Montreal World Film Festival
- Mercedes Benz Audience Award: Best Feature, Palm Springs International FF
Winner - Golden Rooster Award: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Masahiro Motoki)
- Hawaii International Film festival: Audience Award
Winner - Hochi Film Awards: Best Film
- Nikkan Sports Film Award: Best Film, Best Director
Winner - Kinema Junpo Awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor (Masahiro Motoki)

I am not sure how you can get a copy but check the link below for more details about the film.

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