I’d been wanting to see this movie for a quite while. Remember that Japanese movie that everyone was talking about at the academy awards? And that one that won the award for the best foreign film? That’s the one I’m talking about.
I had my reservations about sitting through yet another woefully acted, ridiculously scripted Japanese movie but I was guessing that several snotty film critics couldn’t all be wrong so when it was on tv on Sunday night, I asked M if I could watch it.
He rolled his eyes a bit and ended up disappearing off to his iMac when the movie started, returning to watch most of the movie and sigh loudly every couple of minutes as if to say, ‘Isn’t it fucking over yet?’ as it got near the end of its two hour running time. Don’t you hate it when they do that? But, at least I got to watch it, I guess.
Anyway, I have to say it was good. Really good. Like, I could watch it several times again good (although I say that quietly while Mr Sighs-a-lot is in the room…)
In fact, I had a few good cries during it. Probably because I’m a sucker for anything that involves death, but also because I get all ‘proud teary’ when I see Japan presented in a real light. I wouldn’t exactly call it patriotism, because with me being Australian and all that would be weird, but it’s a strange feeling that I can’t explain with any other words.
I really get a strong sense of pride or happiness when people understand things about Japan and sometimes just an article in a magazine or a tv programme that has a title like ‘Hidden Japan’ (or permutations thereof) is enough to start the waterworks flowing.
That’s weird, right?
I’m not sure what Mr Sigh-a-lot thought about it. Actually, I’m a bit scared to ask because I don’t want him to bag it. I had hoped he would have found it fascinating in terms of all the funeral rituals and ideas about death, but the frequency of his sighs lead me to believe that he found it less than interesting.
Departures is a very maudlin and at times confronting movie, but it is very restrained in terms of your typical Japanese movie – there’s only one stupid, over-acting guy and hardly any what-the-hell-is-this-scene-supposed-to-mean? moments. If you’ve hated just about every other non-anime Japanese movie you’ve ever seen like I have, give this one a try.