!! Oscar Winner 2009 (Best Foreign Language Film) !!
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A delightful and sensitive journey into the heartland of Japan and an astonishingly beautiful look at a sacred part of Japan's cultural heritage, Departures tells the story of Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Matoki), a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved who now finds himself without a job. Daigo decides to move back to his old hometown with his wife to look for work and start over. He answers a classified ad entitled 'Departures' thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency only to discover that the job is actually for a 'Nokanshi' or 'encoffineer,' a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life. While his wife and others despise the job, Daigo takes a certain pride in his work and begins to perfect the art of 'Nokanshi,' acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the family of the departed.
The film follows his profound and sometimes comical journey with death as he uncovers the wonder, joy and meaning of life and living.