Okuribito

In the world of cinema, there are some movies that leave a lasting impression on the viewer. One such movie is the 2008 Japanese film, "Okuribito," which translates to "Departures" in English. Directed by Yojiro Takita, the movie explores the themes of life, death, and the human condition. The film won the Best Foreign Language Film at the 81st Academy Awards, making it the first Japanese movie to win this prestigious award since "Shall We Dance?" in 1997.

"Okuribito" tells the story of Daigo Kobayashi, a cellist who loses his job when his orchestra disbands. In search of a new job, he stumbles upon an advertisement for a position in a company that deals with "departures." Believing it to be a travel agency, he takes the job, only to discover that it is actually a company that prepares the dead for their journey into the afterlife. Despite his initial reluctance, Daigo begins to learn the art of "Nokanshi," or "encoffinment," from his boss, Sasaki. As he becomes more skilled at his job, he starts to understand the importance of this tradition and the role it plays in helping the deceased and their loved ones find closure.

The movie raises thought-provoking questions about life, death, and the human experience. It challenges us to think about how we view death and how we deal with the loss of loved ones. The film also sheds light on the importance of preserving cultural traditions and the role they play in maintaining our identity and sense of belonging.

In this blog post, we will explore the various themes and motifs in "Okuribito" and how they contribute to the film's overall message. We will delve deeper into the characters and their motivations, as well as the symbolism and imagery used throughout the movie. We will also examine the impact of the film on Japanese cinema and its significance in the global film industry.

"Okuribito" is a powerful and moving film that leaves a lasting impression on the viewer. It is a testament to the power of storytelling and the ability of cinema to evoke emotions and challenge our perspectives. Through this blog post, we hope to provide a deeper understanding of this masterpiece and encourage our readers to watch it and experience its magic for themselves.


I'm sure you will also enjoy the following films:

TitleRelease YearDirectorIMDB Rating
Departures2008Yôjirô Takita8.1
Nobody Knows2004Hirokazu Koreeda8.0
Still Walking2008Hirokazu Koreeda8.0
Like Father, Like Son2013Hirokazu Koreeda7.8
After Life1998Hirokazu Koreeda7.7

"Departures" is a Japanese movie released in 2008, directed by Yojiro Takita and written by Kundo Koyama. It tells the story of Daigo Kobayashi, a cellist who loses his job when his orchestra disbanded. He decides to move back to his hometown with his wife to start a new life. There he sees an advertisement for a job assisting departures, which he assumes is a travel agency. However, he soon learns that the job is actually preparing bodies for their final journey in the afterlife.

Plot and Summary:

Daigo Kobayashi, a cellist who has lost his job, moves back to his hometown with his wife Mika. He finds an advertisement for a job assisting departures, which he assumes is a travel agency. However, he soon learns that the job is actually preparing bodies for their final journey in the afterlife. Daigo struggles to come to terms with his new job, but as he becomes increasingly involved in the process of "encoffinment," he gains a new understanding of life and death.

Impressions:

"Departures" is a beautiful movie that explores the themes of life, death, and acceptance. The cinematography is stunning, with beautiful shots of the Japanese countryside and the traditional rituals surrounding death. The acting is top-notch, particularly from Masahiro Motoki, who plays Daigo with subtlety and nuance.

Strong Points:

One of the strengths of the movie is its exploration of Japanese culture and tradition. The rituals surrounding death are portrayed with respect and sensitivity, and the movie shows how these rituals can bring comfort and closure to those left behind. Another strength is the development of Daigo's character, who starts out as a somewhat lost and directionless individual but gradually finds purpose and meaning in his work.

Weak Points:

One potential weak point of the movie is its slow pace. Some viewers may find the movie too slow-moving, as it takes its time to explore the characters and their emotions. Another possible weakness is the movie's focus on death, which may be too heavy for some viewers.

Personal Opinion:

Overall, I would highly recommend "Departures" to anyone who enjoys character-driven dramas and is interested in Japanese culture. The movie is a beautiful exploration of life, death, and the human experience, and it is sure to leave a lasting impression on viewers. The cast is excellent, and the cinematography is stunning, making it a must-see for any movie lover.


I recently watched "Nobody Knows," a Japanese movie that was released back in 2004. Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, the movie has received critical acclaim and has won several awards. As a movie expert with a keen eye for directing and cinematography, I was excited to watch this movie and see what it had to offer.

Plot Summary

The movie revolves around a family of four siblings living in a small apartment in Tokyo. The mother, who is an irresponsible woman, leaves the children to take care of themselves while she goes off to start a new life with her boyfriend. The siblings, who are aged between 5 to 12 years old, try to survive on their own without anyone finding out that their mother has abandoned them.

Impressions

The movie is an emotional rollercoaster that will tug at your heartstrings. The director has done an incredible job of capturing the innocence of the children and their struggle to survive in a world without adults. The cinematography is also top-notch, with each frame beautifully composed and filled with emotion.

Strong Points

One of the strong points of the movie is the acting. The child actors are exceptional, and they bring their characters to life with such authenticity that it's hard not to feel for them. The director has also done an excellent job of creating a sense of tension and suspense throughout the movie, keeping you on the edge of your seat.

Weak Points

One of the weak points of the movie is its pacing. The movie is slow-paced, and some viewers might find it hard to sit through the entire length of the movie. However, I believe that the slow pacing was intentional, as it allowed the director to focus on the emotions and struggles of the children.

What Makes This Movie Special

What makes this movie special is its ability to capture the essence of childhood and the struggles that come with it. The movie is a poignant reminder of the importance of family and the impact that parents have on their children's lives. The movie also highlights the resilience of children and their ability to adapt to difficult situations.

Cast

The cast of the movie is relatively unknown, with Yuya Yagira, who plays the role of the eldest sibling, Akira, being the only notable actor. However, the child actors all do an incredible job of portraying their characters, and their performances are what make the movie so special.

Personal Opinion

In my personal opinion, "Nobody Knows" is a must-watch movie for anyone who loves emotional dramas. The movie is a testament to the power of storytelling and the ability of movies to evoke strong emotions in their viewers. The movie is not for everyone, as it requires patience and an open mind, but for those who are willing to give it a chance, it's an experience that they won't forget anytime soon.


"Still Walking": A Poignant Family Drama

"Still Walking" is a 2008 Japanese movie directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda that revolves around a family's 24-hour reunion in honor of their son's death. The film features a talented cast of actors, including Hiroshi Abe, Yoshio Harada, and Kirin Kiki, among others.

Plot Summary

The story follows the Yokoyama family, who gather every year to commemorate the death of their oldest son, Junpei, who drowned in a tragic accident 15 years ago. The family members include the patriarch Kyohei, a retired doctor who is detached from his family; Toshiko, his wife, who is still grieving for her son; and their two surviving children, Ryota and Chinami.

Ryota, who is a failed artist, arrives with his wife and child, while Chinami brings her new husband. The family members spend the day together, reminiscing about Junpei and their past, and revealing their current struggles and secrets. As the day progresses, unresolved tensions and conflicts between the family members slowly come to the surface, leading to emotional outbursts and confrontations.

Impressions

"Still Walking" is a beautifully crafted movie that explores the complexities of family relationships and the impact of tragedy on their dynamics. The film's slow pacing and minimalist style create a meditative atmosphere that allows the audience to immerse themselves in the characters' lives and emotions.

The movie's strength lies in its realistic portrayal of the family's dynamics, which is conveyed through subtle gestures, facial expressions, and dialogues. The characters are all flawed and struggling with their own issues, which makes them relatable and human. The film's cinematography is also noteworthy, with its use of long takes and natural lighting that capture the everyday life of the family.

One of the film's weaknesses is its lack of action and dramatic moments, which may not appeal to audiences who prefer fast-paced movies. Additionally, some may find the film's focus on the family's mundane activities and conversations too slow and uneventful.

Final Thoughts

"Still Walking" is a poignant and thought-provoking movie that explores the complexities of family relationships and the impact of loss on their dynamics. It is a must-watch for those who appreciate slow-paced, character-driven dramas with a realistic and honest portrayal of human emotions. The movie's talented cast, beautiful cinematography, and powerful storytelling make it a standout film that is worth watching.


"Like Father, Like Son" is a Japanese drama movie that was released in 2013. Directed by the talented Hirokazu Kore-eda, the movie tells a heartwarming story about two families that discover their sons were switched at birth.

Plot Summary

The story revolves around two families, one wealthy and successful, the other working-class and struggling. The Yokoyamas and the Nonomiyas are brought together after learning that their six-year-old sons were switched at birth. The two boys, Keita and Ryusei, have been raised by the wrong families for six years. The film follows both families as they deal with the revelation and try to decide what to do next.

Impressions

"Like Father, Like Son" is a beautifully crafted movie that explores the themes of family, identity, and parenthood. The story is touching and emotional, and the performances are outstanding. The cinematography is also noteworthy, with beautiful shots of the Japanese countryside and urban landscape.

One of the strongest points of the movie is its ability to create empathy for both families. Both sets of parents are portrayed as loving, caring, and committed to their children. The movie does an excellent job of showing the struggles each family faces as they try to come to terms with the revelation.

Another strong point of the movie is its exploration of the differences between the two families. The wealthy Yokoyamas have been able to provide their son with every material comfort, while the Nonomiyas have had to work hard to make ends meet. The contrast between the two families is subtle, but it adds depth and complexity to the story.

Weak Points

One of the weaker points of the movie is its slow pace. The story moves at a leisurely pace, which may not appeal to audiences who prefer faster-paced movies.

Another weaker point is the lack of resolution at the end of the movie. While the story is resolved in a satisfactory manner, some audiences may be left wanting more closure.

Cast

The movie features an excellent cast, with Masaharu Fukuyama and Machiko Ono playing the Yokoyama parents, and Lily Franky and Yoko Maki playing the Nonomiyas. The child actors who play Keita and Ryusei are also outstanding, delivering convincing performances that add to the emotional impact of the story.

Personal Opinion

Overall, "Like Father, Like Son" is an excellent movie that is well worth watching. The story is touching and emotional, and the performances are outstanding. While the slow pace and lack of resolution may not appeal to all audiences, the movie's exploration of family, identity, and parenthood make it a must-see for anyone interested in Japanese cinema or drama movies in general.


After Life: A Beautiful and Thought-Provoking Masterpiece

The 1998 movie "After Life" is a beautifully crafted and thought-provoking masterpiece of Japanese cinema. Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, this movie is a poignant exploration of life, death, and the memories that connect us to our past.

Plot:

The movie takes place in a sort of purgatory or waystation, where the recently deceased are given one week to choose a single memory that they will take with them into eternity. The deceased are interviewed by counselors who help them to select their memory, and then a team of filmmakers recreates that memory on film, so that the deceased can take it with them.

Impressions:

The movie is a slow burner, taking its time to build up to its emotional and philosophical climax. The cinematography is stunning, with a muted color palette and a dreamlike quality that perfectly captures the otherworldly nature of the setting. The acting is superb, with each actor bringing a depth and humanity to their roles that is truly impressive.

Strong Points:

One of the strongest points of the movie is its exploration of memory and its role in shaping our perception of reality. The movie asks some profound questions about the nature of memory and its relationship to our identity, and it does so in a way that is both accessible and profound.

Weak Points:

One potential weakness of the movie is its slow pace, which may be a turnoff for some viewers. Additionally, some viewers may find the movie's philosophical musings to be a bit heavy-handed or pretentious.

Cast:

The cast of "After Life" is made up of a mix of established actors and relative newcomers. The standout performance comes from Arata Iura, who plays one of the counselors tasked with helping the deceased choose their memory. Iura brings a quiet intensity to his role, and his performance is a major reason why the movie is so emotionally affecting.

Opinion:

Overall, "After Life" is a truly special movie that deserves to be seen by anyone with an interest in cinema or philosophy. It is a movie that rewards patience and reflection, and it has the power to leave a lasting impression on anyone who watches it. Highly recommended!