140 - Departures (2008)

After his orchestra is dissolved, a cellist takes a job preparing the dead for funerals.

Daigo moved to Tokyo to take his dream job as a cellist in a major orchestra, but when the orchestra is closed down he is forced to move back to his dead mother's house and look for work.

He answers an advert to work 'with departures' but is horrified to find that it is preparing the dead for funerals. The pay is good however and he becomes intrigued alongside his disgust.

As news of his job filters around the community he begins to feel the disapproval causing him to question whether this is the right job for him after all.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
On the face of it, Departures offers very little, but after watching the opening sequence where Daigo discovers something truly shocking it is clear to see that Departures is an uplifting and often light hearted look at the Japanese rituals surrounding death.

On top of all of that there is a personal tale of a man with a bitter hatred for a father he never knew that tugs the heartstrings as it slowly develops outside of the main storyline.

In truth, the script isn't really up to much with director Yôjirô Takita preferring to focus on the poignant nature of the subject. The words that are uttered though have a powerful impact, presuming that it is translated correctly into English in the subtitling.

Simply one of the best films I've ever seen. Highly recommended.