August 16, 2009


Nothing like waiting until the last minute; Departures was held over twice at Real Art Ways and I snuck in this evening for the very last performance. I was expecting to be delighted and charmed by this movie - but I guess I had no idea how moving, how beautiful, how delicately resonant this movie would be to my own life arc.

I'm not a film critic, but I'll touch on a few points that really moved me. Visit the film's website for a synopsis before going further, if you'd like.

* Daigo's quiet acceptance of his limitations as a musician was most poignant, and on some level, speaks to any of us who begin to confront our limitations, our aging, our mortality. At a certain point, the arc of one's life begins turning downward, and perhaps this is when living truly starts. The film did a nice job of communicating this.

* There is a fairly major (and heretofore not mentioned) trans character (the film hinges on this subplot) - and the portrayal is sensitive, sad and beautiful.

* So many of the characters relate to Daigo (and Mike) in parental ways. It's quite a wonderful study of elders, mentoring, and parenting.

* The individual deaths and bereavement scenes were so delicately portrayed and wonderfully diverse.

* The loving way that Daigo and his boss handle the dead bodies - resonates with my own work in the yoga studio - so precious to lay hands on the human form.

* The similarity of food (in this case, a freshly killed chicken) to the dead bodies (my surgeon friend is a vegetarian; no doubt she sees this similarity as she cuts into the human body). Later, as Daigo's boss lustily ("I hate myself for this", he says) consumes friend puffer roe, and later fried chicken - there is a certain lust for life that was funny and refreshing.

As Colin McEnroe blogged, I ended up in tears through most of the film. It was so beautiful, so sad, so true. I know it's too late to see it at RAW, but if you do get the chance in the theater, do go see it. Or once it hits DVD - definitely a worthwhile rental.

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