The Departures


The movie “Departures”  basically tells us the story about Daigo, an unemployed cellist  working as an “encoffiner” in Japan. The movie portrayed the journey of Daigo and the unexpected job as an encoffiner.  An encoffiner’s real task is to bring dignity to death and is a form of respect to the deceased. This can be seen at the start of the movie when Daigo was performing his task of cleaning the dead body. Whats interesting is that they put on makeup to the faces of the dead body, regardless of age and gender. To my understanding, this act of cleaning and beautifying a dead body is a way to show that death is also of significance in this world. 

Many of us, especially the people around me perceive death as a taboo and talking about your own death is a bit terrifying. Most of it I believe is the fear of the afterlife (according to muslim religion, those with sins are doomed to hell). This movie portrayed death as a departure to the afterlife hence the movie name. It has a way of showing that death is a journey and that everyone should be respected the same as when they are alive. I believe that a funeral is a traditional symbolic expression of our beliefs, thoughts and feelings about the death of a loved one. Funeral ceremonies particularly in this movie helps acknowledge the reality of death, gives testimony to the life of the deceased. It provides support for mourners in a way by helping us to embrace the beliefs of life and death. it also in a way offers us hope for the living. 


Another interesting point in the movie is  the act of beautifying the dead body happens to be  their belief to restore beauty for all eternity. The procedure itself is done peacefully and beautifully which further clarifies their view of death as a departure. Overall, the movie is a good watch. I think it is one of a kind, somehow the movie about dead people manage to reveal a sense of life and spirit.


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