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Departures (2008)

Masahiro Motoki , Ryoko Hirosue , Yjir Takita  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (266 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Masahiro Motoki, Ryoko Hirosue, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Kazuko Yoshiyuki, Kimiko Yo
  • Directors: Yjir Takita
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: E1 Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 12, 2010
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (266 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002SF9YNO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,188 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Departures" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When his orchestra disbands, Daigo Kobayashi moves back to his hometown and takes a job preparing corpses for burial. Too embarrassed to admit his new career to his family, Daigo keeps his profession a secret, until he’s faced with the death of someone close to him. Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Film.


Academy Award Winner – Best Foreign Language Film
Winner of 10 Japan Academy Prize Awards

When his orchestra disbands, Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki) decides to start over and moves back to his small hometown. Desperate for work, he secretly takes a job as a “Nokanshi,” a funeral professional who prepares the deceased for burial and entrance into the next life. But while working with the families of the departed, Daigo embarks on a spiritual journey of his own as he finally experiences the joy and wonder of living.

BONUS FEATURE: Interview with director Yojiro Takita --

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
141 of 145 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece March 8, 2011
A lengthy review is not required for this film. It was simple, profound and beautiful.

I consider myself to be a hard and somewhat jaded man, having survived war and traveling far in my life. This film awakened long-buried emotions.

I wept.
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57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Japanese films have always had the remarkable reputation of turning the simplest premise into something so full of moving emotions and sensibilities. Yojiro Takita's multi-award winning film "DEPARTURES" (2008) is no different. There is a lot of excessive hype surrounding the film as it has almost nearly swept the Japanese Academy awards and has been awarded the Best Foreign film honor in the recent 2009 Oscars. No film can live up to the hype it has gotten, but I have to say it has earned each and every recognition; well deserving of the commercial success it had achieved in its native land.

Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki) is a cello player whose dream is shattered when the orchestra he is playing with goes broke. Left with no choice but to sell his prized cello, Daigo together with his wife Mika (beauteous Ryoko Hirosue) returns to his hometown to live in his mother's old house. In need of a new job, Daigo responds to an ad in the local paper for a job in "Departures", thinking that it may be related to travel. But much to his surprise and dismay, Daigo discovers that he had applied for a profession as an `Encofineer'; a man who performs the delicate and traditional Japanese ritual of preparing the bodies of the deceased for the departure to the next life--it pays quite well, and without even thinking about it, he accepts without even giving his wife the details of his new job.

It is not often that we become privy to a film about the beautifying of corpses, director Takita takes on the grim subject matter and gives it a commercial charm and appeal. The direction is quite meticulous in exposing the world of the mortician as we become witnesses to the Japanese customs and traditions as to how they deal with their dead.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Amazon has a limit of five stars in its rating system. If I could, this 2008 film - which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film - would get SIX. It is the perfect blend of story, visuals and music!

You probably know already that this is the story of a "downsized" cello player who finds a job as an encofineer ( the men who add the makeup and garments to deceased persons before the are cremated.) I hope you don't know more, as it will really destroy the surprises in store for you as this beautiful film unfolds. I won't even give it a long review for that reason. The music all revolves around the cello and the score (which features 13 cells playing together over the end titles) is reminiscent of what Michael Nyman composed for the film "The Piano". The cinematography is gorgeous. There is no blood and no violence. Death comes naturally here and there is beauty in the dressing.

The subtitles are in yellow below the image and easy to read. And the dialogue is never fast, so you don't need to rush to read them. The DVD contains an interesting 11-minute interview with the Director (which is translated verbally into English as well as in English subtitles.). Don't watch the interview until after you see the film. It will spoil some of enjoyment.

This is a film that is appropriate for older teens and may actually lead to some interesting discussions of the humanity of death. But don't let that dissuade you from seeing it. Its just a BEAUTIFUL loving musically rich film.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Celebration of Life and Love April 27, 2010
I don't know what more I can say about this stunning film that hasn't been said. It was the surprise winner of the '08 Oscar for Foreign Language Film, so I was compelled to rent it. Best move I've made. After research, this film won every Japanese Academy Award, as well as many other Asian film awards. This is a film about life, and the love story adds to the beauty of the goings on. Indeed, death is part of life, and I would wish I'd be put to rest in as dignified a procedural as depicted here. Despite the morbid suggestion, there is lots of humor to alleviate the serious tone, and it also lets one know, rather encourages one, to let those you love to KNOW it before it's too late. I adored this film for it's simplicity, truth and absolute honesty. I was quite blown away.Acting is impeccable, and direction is perfect. There's a sweetness that makes you want to watch it again. DVD extras are fine. I recommend this film to all, without reservation.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Things That Matter February 3, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
As others have so aptly stated, many words cannot convey the beauty of this definite masterpiece of a movie.
One of the greatest movies, I believe, of the last 50 years. Finally, a recent movie without any weapons, no chase scenes, NOT action-packed, NO buildings exploding. It's about peace, forgiveness, a hidden sense of a supreme being behind the reasons of LOVE for the only operating principle of life.
I would give it ten stars if I could.

When will the world learn that beyond all the spiritual and humanitarian reasons for gentleness, mercy and love...that the practice of violence is extremely low taste.
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