Departures

July 2, 2009

okuribito2

Best movie I’ve seen all year. I’m not normally a fan of heavy-handed saccharine sentimentality, or the use of dramatic cello music to drive emotional points, but this movie got to me.

It has this…well, quiet dignity about it that I loved. It’s strange to say that a movie is ‘respectful’, but no other adjective fits, really. It’s almost obsessive in its carefulness: treads very lightly over its subject matter, and makes nothing more than gentle suggestions as to its intent. It just watches quietly  from a corner, bowing its head politely if you catch its eye.

Except for the dramatic cello bits, of course. Those were a tad unnecessary.

okuribito

Daigo explains the concept of 'stone-writing'. I hate to be pedantic, but the subtitles obviously got this part wrong, because it involves neither stones nor writing.

On a related note, this is probably the first live-action Japanese film I’ve seen since the Akira Kurosawas way back in college. (which bought back hilarious memories of Toshiro Mifune, and his uncanny ability to make even normal dialogue sound like a declaration of war)

While I’ve watched a steady number of Korean and Chinese films (and an unhealthy amount of Miyazaki and Japanese animation), contemporary Japanese films, I realize, I’ve hardly seen any.

Recommendations, anyone?

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6 Responses to “Departures”

  1. Well said. I really do miss Akira Kurosawa.. What a magician he was.

  2. “I’m not normally a fan of heavy-handed saccharine sentimentality…”

    Then you must be in love 😀

    Alright, I’ve neither seen the movie, nor do I know you. But that’s no reason not to leave non-sequitur, judgmental comments 😛

  3. sottai said

    Haha. Non-sequitur, judgemental comments are always welcome!

    But maybe it’s because of years of tangentially watching tamil serials: who use sentimentality so vapidly it loses any power it may have had in more discerning hands.

    It was also the cello music. It really was unnecessary. =)

  4. shakuni said

    okuribito is the japanese name, right? i wanted to watch this movie but it left the theatres before i could save enough money to do so :).

  5. Reetika said

    Recommendation: Battle royale!:D

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