Let's not dance around words like "thought provoking" "insightful", "existential" - Okuribito isn't your typical arty-farty movie with beautiful scenes, cryptic monologues and hidden meanings; it has a certain quality that makes it a joy to watch: it's accessible.
That's right - no more staring at the screen wondering what the protagonist standing in his underpants in front of a mirror to the sound of clockwork means. Hooray!
Without spoiling anything, Okuribito touches on topics most of us can relate to: family, relationships, homosexuality, unemployment, and of course the looming, dread realization of mortality. There's a healthy dose of self-deprecating comedy, extremely colorful characters, and incredible acting. All this without cheesy b-rate lines and still managing to NOT be depressing.
I say depressing, because it can at times get very, very emotional - from sad, to heartwarming, to endearing. It's emotional enough to make you cry. Sometime's it's emotional enough to make you cry while smiling.
But story is one thing, cinematography is another, and the movie as a whole is wonderfully directed and beautifully shot. We see everything from a Japanese cityscape to a charming countryside filled with rolling hills and swaying plants in all four seasons - backed up by an addictive soundtrack that tells the story on it's own.
Okuribito finds the right balance between arthouse film and feel-good-heartwarming disney. It's not mindless. It does have plot. It wont make you apathetic.
And besides, it has an octopus in it. More than enough reason, really.
It took me 3 seatings to finish this movie. And, it's not because it's boring. It's because I was neither ready nor had time to see it. In short, it spanned almost 2+ years before I was truly able to appreciate this movie in its entity. I had heard about it from a colleague way back when I was still in the office working in Singapore. I was told by a pretty old man so I didn't really seriously thought about it. Then I was emailed a link by a friend and was … more
Japanese films have always had the remarkable reputation of turning the simplest premise into something so full of moving emotions and sensibilities. Yojiro Takita’s multi-award winning film “DEPARTURES” (aka. Okuribito, 2008) is no different. There is a lot of excessive hype surrounding the film as it has almost nearly swept the Japanese Academy awards and has been awarded the Best Foreign film honor in the recent 2009 Oscars. No film can … more
Yojiro Takita's winner of best foreign film in the Academy awards. The Japanese really know how to make a film with such a depressing theme into something uplifting and yet, heart-breaking. see full review here.
It was slow and humorous in the beginning, however, it turns out to be a powerful and moving experience. For those with an open mind... and if you haven't got one, try it, you might find that you're not so immune afterall ;-)
Daigo Kobayashi is a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and 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.