Friday, March 12, 2010

FILM: Departures

When Sandy brought home a film about a professional cellist who abandoned his musical career to return to his home town and prepare corpses for cremation, I thought who in Hell wants to see a movie like this? To my great surprise, Departures turned out to be one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. First of all, I enjoy movies that reveal a culture that is foreign to me. The movie was a pleasant surprise because it was a mixture of humor, seriousness, tenderness, and a glimpse into a reality that most of us could not even imagine. In Japan, the undertaker is preceded by a nakanshi, a person who prepares a dead body for cremation in the presence of the deceased’s family. The preparation ceremony reminded me of Japanese tea rituals whose roots reach back many centuries. The film had incredible beauty. We never associate the dead with beauty. After seeing Departures, we understand how such an association is possible. There is symbolism in the film as well, and the heart of it is a story of stones …. Well, I’m getting ahead of myself. Better to have you rent the film and see for yourself. This movie defies genre. And, the acting is spot-on. The director’s name is Yojiro Takita. Departures won the Oscar for the best foreign film in 2009. Well deserved!

1 comment:

Vera Marie said...

Congratulations, Sven, for making Alexandra let YOU talk for a change. :-) I'm looking forward to your movie and whatever reviews.