What is this japanese movie Departures about? Why it’s a must watch Japanese Movie?
Where can I watch this Departures (2008) with subtitles ?
What is the significance of the stone letter in departures or What are the symbolic elements in Departures?
In this post, we will cover all this.
What is the story of “Departures”
Daigo Kobayashi is a young man who has always dreamed of becoming a professional cellist. He works hard and eventually secures a spot in a prestigious orchestra. However, his dream shatters when financial difficulties lead to the disbanding of the orchestra.
Forced to move back to Daigo’s hometown in Yamagata, Daigo and his wife, Mika, struggle to make ends meet. Daigo stumbles upon an ad for a job he mistakes for a travel agency role. However, at the interview, he discovers the job is actually at a mortuary.
Initially hesitant, Daigo eventually accepts the position out of financial necessity.
This decision marks the turning point of the film and the beginning of Act 2.
What challenges await him, and how will he overcome them?
Will this job, so starkly different from his dreams, become a burden or an unexpected blessing?
Will Daigo find his true calling in life? Or will he regret his decision to work at the mortuary?
How does the film challenge traditional views of death and dying?
How does it demonstrate the ways we can support each other through difficult times?
Find the answers by watching the film.
Where to Watch Departures With Subtitles?
If you live in the USA, Tubi allows you to watch this movie freely. If you live outside the USA, consider using a VPN to access it, or alternatively, click here to watch it on m4uhd.
6 Reasons Why Japanese Movie ‘Departures’ is a Must Watch!
1. Balance of Humor and Drama
Despite the serious theme of death, the movie cleverly incorporates humour to prevent it from becoming too dark. It successfully blends whimsy and irony, providing a warm-hearted viewing experience.
All its events encourage viewers to think about their relationships, the significance of family, and societal values, making it an intellectually stimulating watch.
2. Wonderful Acting
The main actors in “Departures” do an excellent job. Masahiro Motoki, who plays Daigo, makes you believe in his character’s inner struggle as he adjusts to his new job.
Tsutomu Yamazaki, as Sasaki, portrays a man who’s seen a lot in life but still has a sense of humour. Their performances make the movie feel real and engaging.
3. Beautiful Music
Joe Hisaishi‘s music in the movie is like a character itself. It’s peaceful and hopeful, and when Daigo plays his cello, it adds another layer of emotion to the story.
4. Amazing Cinematography
The movie shows us beautiful scenes of Yamagata’s countryside. The stunning mountains and rivers make you feel like you’re right there in Japan.
5. Detailing in Rituals & Culture
Departures provide a unique insight into Japanese culture. The detailed depiction of traditional Japanese death rituals, such as the encoffining ceremony, offers a rich cultural experience for the audience.
6. Deep Symbolism
The film employs powerful symbols such as the cherry blossom, representing the transience of life. The strategic use of the colour white, classical music, and ritualised hand gestures further emphasise the sacredness and purity of death ceremonies.
The best one is (might be a spoiler so please skip the next information) the stone letter in this movie plays a significant symbolic role.
What is the significance of the stone letter in Departures
It is a medium through which Daigo communicates with his late father, and it symbolises the unspoken love, forgiveness, and reconciliation between them.
Daigo’s father had left him and his mother when Daigo was a child. For years, Daigo held resentment towards his father. When he finds the stone letter among his father’s possessions, it allows him to understand that his father always cared for him and thought about him, even if he was not present physically.
The stone letter is also a representation of Daigo’s father’s wish to communicate his love and apologies to his son. This stone, given to Daigo when he was a baby and returned to him upon his father’s death, symbolises the cyclical nature of life and death, and the continuity of love and memories.
The stone letter, thus, aids in Daigo’s personal transformation. It helps him come to terms with his father’s absence and fuels his empathy towards the bereaved families he serves as an encoffineer. This understanding of his father’s love, albeit posthumous, helps Daigo find closure and enables him to forgive his father, representing a reconciliation even after death.
6. Emotional Impact
“Departures” is a movie that stays with you after you watch it. It explores big ideas like the meaning of life and death, and it makes you think about your own relationships and the people you care about.
It’s a movie that can make you laugh, cry, and think, all at the same time.
Why Should You Skip This Movie?
This Japanese movie “Departures” is a deeply emotional and thought-provoking film that deals with mature themes such as death, grief, societal prejudice, and personal growth.
Therefore, it may not be suitable for all types of audiences.
Pacing: The film is paced deliberately, taking time to develop its characters and explore its themes. Those who prefer fast-paced action or thriller movies may find it slow.
Mature Themes: The film delves into mature themes such as death, societal prejudice, and personal transformation. It may not be suitable for younger viewers who might not be able to fully understand or process these themes.
Emotional Intensity: Those in search of lighter, more uplifting entertainment might find it overwhelmingly intense.
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