Saturday, July 25, 2009


Apart from enhancing my existence, this Oscar-winning movie (best foreign language film 2009) has enhanced my vocabulary. My new word is "encoffinment" and its what this movie is about - that is, apart from more global issues like attitudes to death and the trouble you can get into by not telling your partner the truth, and the emotional damage you can do by abandoning your children, but I digress. In Japan (and other places for all I know) encoffinment is the rite of preparing a body (washing, dressing, packing orifices and so on)in the family home before the undertaker puts the body in a coffin and takes it away.

Departures is the story of a newly-redundant cellist (Daigo) who returns to his hometown (because his mother left him a house there) and gets an encoffinment job by accident, (although some would say it was fate) and is too mortified (intentional pun!) to tell his wife. When she finds out, she says its either her or the job, and she leaves. It seems she didn't count on her husband finding his vocation in this socially unacceptable business!

While there's lot about death in Departures there's even more about repairing relationships and forming new ones. I particularly liked what a tight team Daigo and his boss and the receptionist became. I also really liked the process of how Daigo's wife came to be accepting of his new career. I thought the big chunk of cello music mid-film after Daigo's wife left was superfluous but otherwise I was kept engrossed.

Anne's rating 4/5

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