Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Eiga Sai 2011: Departures

I've been planning to attend the Japanese Film Festival 2011 at the Shangrila Plaza since the beginning of its screening last July 2, but it took me another week to finally catch it. After watching the featured film, Departures, I realized how blessed I am to be a part of this event. Somehow it was pure luck, but maybe it's more than that.

Eiga Sai, which literally means Film Festival, is a screening of award winning films as a part of celebrating Philippines-Japan Friendship month. It showcased the best of Japanese Cinema which showed their culture, values and identity. Although Jadorama or Japanese series is beginning to be popular in our country, watching their movie was still a different experience.

Last Saturday, I met my college girl friends in Shangrila Plaza to watch the extended special screening of Departures. The admission was free but the ticket was given out so early that we were not able to get one. Luckily, they gave chance to some fortunate people, which included us, to fill in the vacant seats.

Cinema 4 was echoing with laughter at the first 20 minutes of the movie Departures, but was filled with soft sobs as the movie progressed. The movie tackled a bizarre subject and filled it with heartwarming and inspirational scenes which every Filipino despite the cultural differences can relate with.

I admire how the actor Masahiro Motoki gave life to the lead character Daigo Kobayashi, an aspiring cellist who, because of some unexpected turn of events, eventually took the job of an encoffiner. Motoki then won a Best Actor in 32nd Japan Academy Prize for this film. His skills as an actor complimented the movie's director, Yojiro takita.

One thing really remarkable about this film is how they showed the art in sending their dead loved ones off. You can really see the tradition that goes with their every ceremony. It also highlighted the values of family, acceptance, how we deal with fate, and most importantly, our idea about death.

(Listen to the soundtrack of the movie Departures,
 this is played in some of the most wonderful scenes in the movie)

Honestly, I cried a lot while watching Departures. This film really touched a soft spot in my heart especially with the memories of my departed mom who just passed away last year. The movie showed how different families deal with the death of their member, and how we should really respect to our departed loved ones. I realized that death is universal, that no cultural differences, age nor race can change it.

Departures garnered different awards including the 81st Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2009 and having watched it, I know that this Japanese Film really deserved it. This is the kind of movie that never goes old, and must be recognized as one of the classics in Asian movies.

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