DVD - 2010 | Japanese
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Daigo Kobayashi is a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and finds himself without a job. He 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. He discovers 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, acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the family of the departed.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Sep 07, 2017

This is a superb movie, existential, heart-felt, beautiful, and it even has some humor. It really opens your eyes... a must watch!

Aug 22, 2017

This is an amazing film.

Jun 19, 2017

I loved this film and all that it gives to the viewer. The score reflects the "fiction" beautifully.

Jan 30, 2017

really makes you think over and over again about life, death, and family.

Jul 27, 2016

very beautiful.

Apr 16, 2016

It's as everyone is saying; original, moving, memorable, and very Japanese.

Apr 15, 2016

Saw this several years ago and floored by the unusual and poignant topic told in a lyrical fashion in sights and sound. (comments & quotes missing.) Shall have to dig up the old quotes to reminiscent the details.

Mar 23, 2016

I have watched this movie for a few times and still find it touching and fascinating.

Mar 17, 2016

Avoided watching this movie for so long because of the potentially depressing subject matter. However, it's a very beautiful, and in the end, very uplifting film...The score for this movie by Joe Hisaishi is also excellent.

Mar 01, 2016

A poignant and lovely film, my wife and I have checked this out a few times just to see it again. Set in modern day Japan, Daigo loses his employment as a cellist in a symphony and returns to his home town to take up a job at what he assumes is a travel agency. He learns that the work involves assisting in the preparation of departed people for cremation. There is the stigma of being associated with death, but having no alternative he takes the job. He endures scolding from people when they learn that he has taken such work. Daigo is taught the process of preparing people for cremation. Sometimes in the presence of the family, he gently washes and dresses the body, applies makeup, and arranges their hair. Done beautifully in silence and with respect for the departed one, the process helps to evoke the love and deep attachment that family members have of the loved one, and finally to grieve. Here's a quote from the movie: "Maybe death is a gateway. Dying doesn't mean the end. You go through it and onto the next thing. It's a gate."
Departures won the Best Foreign Film category at the 81st Academy Awards.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

nadian Jan 13, 2010

nadian thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Quote

Apr 15, 2016

From IMDb:

Yamashita: People are talking.
Daigo Kobayashi: About what?
Yamashita: Get yourself a proper job!
Daigo Kobayashi: Long ago, before writing, you'd send someone a stone that suited the way you were feeling. From its weight and touch, they'd know how you felt. From a smooth stone they might get that you were happy, or from a rough one that you were worried about them.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at SSFPL

To Top