Program Details

Movie Night: Departures


October 11 / 7:00 PM - October 11 / 9:00 PM

Departures is the story of a cellist, Daigo, who loses his job in Tokyo when his orchestra is disbanded. He decides to move back to his hometown with his wife Mika. Daigo’s family used to run a small coffee shop. Back home, Daigo finds an advertisement in the newspaper for “assisting departures”. He goes to the interview, uncertain of the job’s nature. He is hired on the spot after only one question (“Will you work hard?”) and being handed an “advance” by his new boss Sasaki. He discovers that the job involves preparing the dead. Daigo reluctantly accepts. He returns to his wife with sukiyaki for a celebration, but he tells her he will be performing some sort of ceremony.


Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2009 and the Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year at the 32nd Japan Academy Prize, the film concerns the historic Japanese “encoffining” ceremony (called a nōkan) in which professional morticians ritually dress and prepare bodies before they are placed in coffins.

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