Sunday, February 06, 2011

Full house for a Japanese film

The Reading Room was packed for a Japanese movie called Departures directed by Yôjirô Takita. 

The film is about a musician who looses his job in a Tokyo orchestra, sells his cello and moves with his wife back to his home village in the countryside.

Here he answers an ad in the local paper for what he thinks is a travel agent and is talked into becoming an 'encoffiner'. There's no trade in the UK quite like an encoffiner. It's a job that involves ritually washing a deceased person's body, making up their face and arranging their hands and feet in a special position prior to placing them in a coffin. All of this is done in front of assembled relatives.

On the surface it sounds a very grim subject for a film but turned out, judging by comments people made when the movie ended, to be moving, amusing and memorable.