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Suffering from an innate sense that he is a mediocre musician, he faces up to the fact that not everyone who has devoted their life to music can become a top artist.
With wife Mika (Ryoko Hirosue), in tow, he moves back to his home town in the northeastern prefecture of Yamagata.
This was followed by widespread critical acclaim in 2003 for his historical drama “When the Last Sword is Drawn,” culminating in an impressive haul of trophies including Best Film at the 2004 Japan Academy Awards.
His latest films include "Ashura" (2005) and "The Battery" (2007).
They move into the crumbling remains of his mother’s house, which doubled as the local pub.
Spotting a Help Wanted ad featuring the word “departures,” he is excited about the prospect of trying a new career in the travel industry.
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In a season devoted to movies that go crash-bang-boom, this film offers quiet joy, beauty -- and an amazing array of feelings." - Marshall Fine, Hollywood and Fine "This powerfully moving exploration of love and loss is leavened by humor and the revelatory grace of the ritual itself." - Karen Durbin, Elle Magazine "It will resonate with anyone who has ever buried a loved one and struggled to reconcile the myriad emotions—grief, anger, helplessness.
Which is to say, everyone." - David Edelstein, New York Magazine "A beautiful film." - Angela Walker, Christian Cinema "Picturesque and graceful with touches of gentle comedy, awash in lovely images and a gorgeous music score by Joe Hisaishi, with one poetic sequence following another...
Nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film of the year, "Departures" is a delightful and sensitive excursion into the heartland of Japan and an astonishingly beautiful look at a very special part of Japan's cultural heritage.
A premiere symphony orchestra in Tokyo disbands, leaving Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki) suddenly unemployed.
You can't say it wasn't prepared for, but it comes as a devastating surprise, a poetic resolution." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times "It's a deeply touching movie exploring an incredible range of emotions.