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Departures (2009) @ Okuribito おくりびと

"What kind of job is this?!?!"
At a glance:
Well I can sing this out to be a profound, pompous study about the livin and the dead (NOT life and death, I insist) or I could just tell you that it's an overlong piece of very ordinary but very precise Jap pleaser. It's about a bloke who lands himself the socially stigmatic profession of a nokanshi - the man who makes a livin prettyin up corpses before plonkin it into a coffin to be whisked away by the undertaker, who in turn makes another cut (seriously, the more I think about it, the more I think sudden, spontaneous combustion is the best, most economical way to die). Discussions on redemption and dignity imbue the film with its silent charm, as we follow the poor guy around for more than two hours while he comes to terms with a stinkin job and also deserters, in his father and his wife.

Bad news on the doorstep:
Havin not heard or seen any of the other nominees for Best Foreign Pic at the Oscars just gone, it's hard for me to gauge the worthiness of this win (and yes, it did) even after watchin it. That's because we all know the Yanks love mystical Asian or Oriental shyte like a fat boy loves cake. After all, that's why they gave eight Oscars to that populist bollocks of a film Slumdog Millionaire, innit?
Perennial wonderment:
Do they really have to make every scene so long and score it so unsubtly? Ingmar Bergman makes a point when he makes you look at someone's face so long. This director dude probably just wants you to admire the porelessness of Nippon skin. And yes, the score - it's annoyingly like the one in that Julianne Moore movie with Ralph Fiennes, The End Of The Affair.
Reminds me of:
Friend of mine who died in a hit-and-run in Penang. I remember the stench of her body when they lifted the lid because she wasn't embalmed well. Breaks my heart. Wished these folks worked on her.
Watch out for:
The job interview. Fuckin funny.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Lovely but too damned emo. Never did like films with understated conflicts that resolve 'satisfactorily' by the end credits. Good addition to the Japanese catalogue of travellin films though.
★★★1/2
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