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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

One of my favourite movies: Departures

Someone asked me why "Departures" is one of my favourite movies.

This was my answer:
Long after I've forgotten the movie, I will probably still remember the music.

But if I remember the movie and the story and the message, it is simplicity itself. A mispronunciation of House's favourite adage: "Everybody dies".
There is quiet dignity, serene beauty, and simple love in the ritual of nokan.

A pure understanding that death comes for us all, and as a final act for the ones we love, the best we can do is to send them off looking the best they can.

The movie also manages to make the dead, alive for a moment. In the simple mise-en-scene of the nokan, the drama, the conflict, the love, the lives affected are all played out and in many cases, resolved, giving all affected the the closure they need. "Hontoni Arigato Gozaimashita!"
In their death, their lives are validated by those who love them, miss them.
There are no heroes, only people living their lives, touching other people lives, leaving footprints in their hearts.
There are no great deeds. Only a respect for service for others, and an understanding that others need you, even if they don't understand what you do.

But in the end, there is forgiveness and acceptance.
And then there is the eating of the fried chicken. :-)
I also wished I understood Japanese dialects. Because the boss spoke a dialect which adds to his character. But never mind. It is still fantastic the way it is.

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