Christmas 2016. This wonderful film from Japan landed in my house during the holidays. It has been circling the airwaves since 2008. I am glad it finally reached me. The film won an Oscar for best foreign film and it is a treat fitting the holiday spirit. At the center of Depatures is Daigo, a thirty something cello player (Masahiro Motoki) in Tokyo whose classical orchestra closes down. Because he just had spent $US 150,000 on a cello he is now in a real fix. The event triggers soul-searching.
To cut expenditures, he asks his wife to move back with into a small town where he inherited to small house of his mother who passed away two year ago while Daigo was on tour in Europe. As Daigo and his wife enter the small house, we see how his musical career started. The small living room contains a beautiful collection of classical music records. Later we learn that that they belonged to his father he left the family when Daigo was six. Not knowing what happened to his father propels the narrative forward. Every time an older male character appears, we suspect that it might be Daigo’s father. The music, often enriched with the wintery landscape of northers Japan, gives the film a special ambience. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Daigo now has to find a job. Because the advertisement talks about “departures,” Daigo believes he is going for an interview with a travel agency. But he is quite wrong about this. See for yourself what fate has in store for him. You will not be disappointed!