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Academy Award® winner for Best Foreign Language Film, Departures is a delightful journey into the heartland of Japan as well an astonishingly beautiful look at a sacred part of Japan’s cultural heritage.
Departures follows Daigo Kobayashi, a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and who is suddenly left 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, a traditional funerary celebrant who prepares bodies for 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. Daigo experiences a profound and sometimes comical journey as he uncovers the wonder, joy and meaning of life and living.