Monday, March 30, 2009

Departures (Okuribito)

Japan 2008

Details  departures-themovie

Seen 29 March 2009

A life affirming tale in the midst of the special job of preparing the dead for their next journey. The main character, Dai, is an out of work cellist who goes back to his hometown and manages to secure a job akin to the western concept of an embalmer. That is the only similarity between the two because in the Japanese tradition, the person entrusted with preparing the dead for their onward travels does it in such a way that it becomes a celebration of life rather than a morbid and foreboding task. And this is done in front of the deceased person's family members!

Dai himself is not without his own emotional baggage, having been brought up by his mother single-handedly after the father left the family when he was still a small child. Dai was hesitant about his new job after his first disastrous assignment but discovers himself through observing his employer and mentor.

The final realisation about the past and present was beautifully captured when Dai meets his father in the end.

A lesson in acceptance, letting go of the past and opening up to new discoveries.

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