Hot Docs 2017 Review: “The Departure” (2017) ★★★★★

Let’s all imagine for a second that you or me are done with this life. There are demons we fight inside of us, there is a pain we try to ease and the voice that says “you must die” we want to please. But what will happen if we finally do what we wanted so badly? How many loved ones we could possible leave behind? Oh, that’s right, you got it right – a lot. Everything can die, think about it: desire to work, love, to work out, taking public transit, and even the desire to watch the news channel because it has nothing good to say. But what about an opportunity to be reborn? For that, there is no need to die physically, but enough to kill all that negative vibes that can put you into a miserable depression. Either way, Lana Wilson`s THE DEPARTURE is a film that you must see if you want to think deeper about the beauty of the life…

It’s not possible to not be analytical after watching this wonderfully crafted movie with an urgent subject matter that must be addressed right away. There are people like you and me doing different kinds of job. Some of us care about what we are doing in our daily life, but some try to improve the same daily life by making it more memorable. What Mr. Nemoto, a documentary subject, does is not easy, and surprises you less when you hear about his heart problems and declining health condition. But he fulfils his duty as a Buddhist priest by being there for those who want to depart from this world.

Suicide is growing in Japan. Every day brings new reasons to those who want to end their life. So Mr. Nemoto is there for them to make their dream come true…. but not in a way you expect. Through the ritual called The Depature, Mr. Nemoto recreates theatrically, the idea of dying. Before they enter the crucial part of the ceremony, they must leave a note with everything they might leave behind. By the time the process complete, they become a different person… they change… some of them change their mind of dying, some may not. But the idea of having such a wonderful cause is something that will make you wish to hug warmly this man through the big screen.

In the end, there is a question I keep asking myself as a film critic. How can you grade a movie with five stars when it deserves to get all the stars possible? What else needs to be said to boldly highlight that THE DEPARTURE is not just a good movie. It is brilliant. It is not just profound, it carries a universal message in it. It is a movie that will change you from inside and out. It will blow your mind away. By the time you will reach to the end of it, you will feel good and strangely calm, like you were reborn. It did to me, so will do to you as well. Just do not lose this opportunity. Because this might be one of the most relevant and important films you will probably see in your life. Ever!

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