Everybody Loves a Good Rotting Corpse Joke 

Directed by Yojiro Takita

On the one hand, it's obvious why Departures won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. It's overflowing with a familiar cloyingness that won't alienate audiences, and yet there's ample "foreign-ness" to make it appealingly exotic. Recently laid-off Tokyo cellist Masahiro Motoki returns to his hometown with his wife (J-pop superstar Ryoko Hirosue) and secretly begins work as a mortician. Ashamed, he keeps it a secret from her — and, expectedly, she and the town find out and ostracize him.

But then there's the influence of Juzo Itami's uncouth, bodily humor, which exerts itself in Depatures through Motoki's boss, played by Tsutomu Yamazaki of Itami's Tampopo and The Funeral. Whether slobbering over fried chicken, making off-color jokes about rotting corpses or using Motoki as a "human model" for the ritualistic preparation of the body (which includes stuffing gauze in unwanted areas), Yamazaki brings a much-needed inappropriateness to the film. His zest for pervy unpretentiousness does not go unappreciated.

Opens May 29


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Film Reviews

  • Like Murdoch in the Movies: God Help the Girl

    The Belle and Sebastian frontman makes the move to film with this respectable combination of whimsical low-budge let’s-make-a-band caper and fragile singer-songwriter’s coming-of-age.
    • Aug 27, 2014
  • Beale Street Blues: Memphis

    The second film from rising indie auteur Tim Sutton is aimless on the surface, but contains multitudes.
    • Aug 27, 2014
  • Fight the Future: The Congress

    Robin Wright plays "RobinWright" in this messy, half-animated entertainment-industry dystopia/sci-fi mindfuck.
    • Aug 27, 2014
  • More »

© 2014 The L Magazine
Website powered by Foundation