Departures: Death and Scene Essay

Submitted By cloupion
Words: 1018
Pages: 5

Departures Departures (2009) is a foreign film that takes place in modern Japan and directed by Yojieo Takita. The film starts with a man named Daigo Kobayashi who is a cellist in Tokyo. Immediately the story starts off with the orchestra that Daigo plays for becoming broke and forced to disband. Daigo is forced to move to his hometown and find a new job to help support him and his wife. Upon coming across an ad for a job in the newspaper, Daigo applies for it and obtains the job. Unaware of what he applied for, Daigo soon finds out that his job involves dealing with dead bodies and preparing their bodies before they are placed in the coffin. Through this job and having the experience of dealing with dead bodies Daigo begins to learn more about the concepts of life and death and how it relates to the modern world. One of the main scenes that take place in Departures is when Daigo is standing on top of a bridge begins to watch the salmon swim below. As he watches the salmon swim he notices that one of the salmon has died and is just floating on the water as the river moves its corpse. Using a mise en scene and the camera angles, the director uses the dead salmon as a way to show how Daigo is beginning to see how death is all around him after gaining experience with corpses. The director films the dead salmon using a close up shot to “suggest a symbolic importance” (Giannetti & Leach p.70). The dead fish being the symbol of death around Daigo that he is just noticing. With the fish on the bottom of the frame it “suggest opposite meanings from the top” (Giannetti & Leach p.103). With Daigo being on the top it shows the opposites between life and death. Through the movie Daigo begins to see people believe that handling corpses is considered not proper and unclean. He begins to see how the modern world views the dead and how it affects him and his job. An important scene would be when Daigo’s wife Mika finds out about him and what he does in his job. Mika finds his job disgusting and unclean as she begs Daigo to quit. Despite her pleas he does not accept and she decides to leave the house. The director uses a mise en scene in this scene as Mika is leaving. While she leaves Daigo is on the the floor near the bottom of the scene this is uses to show his “vulnerability and powerlessness” (Giannetti & Leach p.103) as Mika leaves. The director also uses silence to further enhance the scene. As Mika leaves the house there is a long silence as Daigo sits alone. The silence is to add to the tension of the situation. Another scene that is similar to this is the job he does after Mika leaves him. While Daigo is cleaning the body of a dead girl a fight soon takes place between the mourners. As the mourners fight Daigo is pointed out to be someone who does a job nobody wants to do further showing that people find his work unclean and not proper. With this and Mika’s earlier departure this puts Daigo in a position where he is beginning to gain doubts about his job because of how improper and unclean it is in the eyes of other people. In this scene the director also uses an eye-level shot and focus the camera onto Daigo. Despite all the talking of the other characters in the background the camera still focused on the silent Daigo to show his weakness and indecision about the job he is a part of. Another scene that should be discussed is the scene where Daigo is driving along with his…