Departures’ arrives at DPAC
Genna McCabe | Wednesday, September 16, 2009
A majority of the Western world usually makes the mistake of ignoring the foreign film industry, to its own detriment. With certain exceptions (read: “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), audiences tend to avoid a movie that involves reading subtitles (gasp) or being exposed to a world to far outside their own. Yet the foreign film experience is often especially rewarding.
Last year the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center brought “Waltz with Bashir” to campus and received an excellent reception. This Sunday, DPAC continues to bring noteworthy foreign films to campus with a showing of “Departures,” winner of the 2009 Academy Award for best foreign film. “Departures” has already made quite a stir on the movie scene, shocking many by upsetting “Waltz with Bashir” for the Oscar.
“Departures” is set in Japan. It centers on a professional cellist, Daigo, whose orchestra loses funding. Forced to abandon his cello and his city in order to find employment, Daigo moves with his wife back to his hometown. They move into Daigo’s childhood home, where he is forced to make peace with memories of his dead mother and his absent father.
Daigo takes a job with the title “Departures,” believing it to be a position at a travel agency, but he soon discovers the job is actually the Japanese equivalent of an embalmer. Daigo’s wife and friends do not approve of the morbid job, but Daigo begins to find a certain sense of enjoyment and fulfillment in his new position. He takes pride in his role helping the dead find peace in their next lives and helping families through their difficult times.
Tackling a topic that Western movies often shy away from, “Departures” takes a deep look at the relationship between life and death, between the living and the dead. It sheds new light on the funeral industry, showing that one can find fulfillment through the strangest of jobs. With its multilayered story line and intriguing characters, “Departures” is sure to be touching on multiple levels.
“Departures” is showing at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20 in the Browning Cinema. Tickets are $5 to $6 for faculty and staff, $4 for seniors and $3 for students. The film will be shown in the Browning Cinema.