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Cosford screening: ‘Departures’

7:00 pm
3:45 pm
1:15 pm

The Academy Award-winner for Best Foreign Language Film of the year, Departures is a delightful and sensitive journey into the heartland of Japan and an astonishingly beautiful look at a sacred part of Japan’s cultural heritage. The film follows Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki), a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and who is suddenly left without a job. Daigo decides to move back to his old hometown with his wife to look for work and start over. He answers a classified ad titled “Departures,” thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency position but discovers the job is actually for a “nokanshi” or “encoffineer,” a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life. His wife and others despise the job, but Daigo takes a certain pride in his work and begins to perfect the art of “nokanshi,” acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the family of the departed. The film follows his profound and sometimes comical journey with death as he uncovers the wonder, joy, and meaning of life and living. The film is in Japanese with English subtitles. Admission is $6 for all alumni, faculty, and staff, and is free for students. General admission is $8. The film screens on Friday, August 28 at 7 p.m., Saturday, August 29 at 3:45 and 9 p.m., and Sunday, August 30 at 1:15 and 6:30 p.m. For more information visit

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