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Movie Review on “Departures”


Departures (2008)— 礼仪师之奏鸣曲

This movie has a very good storyline and it is also quite touching. In this movie the main character — Daigo was a cellist in the starting of the movie. He was force to quit his job as cellist when his orchestra band was being disband and he decide to go back to his hometown to start a new life while searching for a job. Coincidentally, he found himself a job that he thought will be cool at first but then realized that he fall into the deception of the advertisement. The advertisement sounds like a traveling company but in the end he end up working as a corpse make-up artist. Throughout his work, he had a completely different view towards his job and he manage to proved to his friend and wife that the career he choosen is not something that need to be ashame of in an Asian context. He also forgives his father who abandoned him since he was young which was found dead at his room.

Why do they choose an cellist as the character?
I think that the reason they choose a cellist as the character because as a musician you will need to put a lot of feelings when you are performing your song. As a musician you will need to feel the song first before you can convey the message in the song to the audience. When in comes to the movie, making-up for the dead person can be something very easy. All you need to do is just put some color on the body to make it looks fresh then everything will just be fine. However, Daigo who first thought of this way too but was slowly melt into the true purpose of his career soon. As time goes by, he started to feel the perception of the dead person family and how does this person being viewed in the eyes of their family member. The concept behind this is that a musician can feel the spirit of the music and express it out beautifully to the audience. Similarly, when making-up for the dead body Daigo can feel how the family view on the dead person to help the dead person to make-up so that it matches the good memory that the person left for them. In the movie, the family member thanked Daigo for his make-up because he help them to retrieved many good memories of the dead person.

In the Asian context, people view the career that involve death as dirty and ashame. In the movie, Daigo’s friend prevent his wife and daughter to even greet Daigo because of his job. Daigo’s wife left him because he refuses to change his career where his wife thinks that the job is very shamful to her. I think that these people are great. They willing to sacrifice themselves to work in those career that people look down onto. Try to imagine the world without them. Who will handle the dead people?

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