Pacific Tides
My name is Thomas Sturm and I'm a programmer, photographer and writer.

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Departures

Last weekend we had a chance to see the Japanese movie "Departures" as a preview of its official release in the US during the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Departures won this year's Academy Award for best foreign film, and it must have been a close call as best film all around.

Where to begin? It's a movie about funerals, or specifically about the act of transferring bodies into the casket, which traditionally is often done in a cleansing ceremony in the house of the recently deceased before the undertaker removes the body.

The story is beautifully crafted around the life of the young man who finds himself freshly jobless and uprooted, as he stumbles into the unusual job of preparing the dead, while at the same time trying to hide this new income source from his wife.

It is a testament to the craftsmanship of the film makers that this movie is not just incredibly tasteful around its morbid subject matter, but the sequences with the deceased take on a beauty, elegance and meditative rhythm that makes the experience uniquely emotional for the audience.

The movie opens on May 29th across the US and if you only see one foreign movie this year, I'd make it this one - and maybe bring some tissues.

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