Cinema & Event Screenings

Departures + The Offering by Sima Gonsai (short) 

This event is now closed
  • Director-
  • Rating12A
  • Film genres-
  • Duration152
  • Released-
  • Film Cast-

Wed 10 May, 5pm | Tickets £9 full price; £8.10 concession; £4 under 16s

Nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film of the year, Departures is a delightful and sensitive excursion into the heartland of Japan and an astonishingly beautiful look at a very special part of Japan's cultural heritage.

A premiere symphony orchestra in Tokyo disbands, leaving Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki) suddenly unemployed. Suffering from an innate sense that he is a mediocre musician, he faces up to the fact that not everyone who has devoted their life to music can become a top artist. With wife Mika (Ryoko Hirosue), in tow, he moves back to his home town in the north-eastern prefecture of Yamagata. They move into the crumbling remains of his mother’s house, which doubled as the local pub.

Spotting a Help Wanted ad featuring the word “departures,” he is excited about the prospect of trying a new career in the travel industry. He arrives for the interview, curiously eyeing the coffins lining the back wall of the office. The company owner, Sasaki (Tsutomu Yamazaki), hires him on the spot, with only a cursory glance at his resume. Daigo finally ventures to ask what is involved, exactly, and is stunned to learn what he has gotten himself into; the ceremonial “encoffination” of corpses prior to cremation. Sasaki urges him to take the job, proffering large amounts of cash. He’s getting older, and needs someone to carry on the tradition.
In desperate straits, Daigo overcomes his initial trepidation and begins to travel around Hirano with Sasaki. Sasaki is comically matter-of-fact, but firm in his directives, and the contention that they are providing an important service to their community. Some cases are markedly traditional, featuring beatific family members in time-honored transition. Others highlight family dramas fraught with inevitable collisions, eased into unexpected conclusion. True to Sasaki’s expectations, Daigo develops a deep respect for life in all its variations, and a profound empathy for people trying to make peace with the finality of death.
Too embarrassed to tell his wife about his conversation-stopping profession and admit that he has fallen in love with the townsfolk, Daigo vainly tries to keep his new life secret. As their relationship hangs in the balance, the big question is how he’s going to react to surprising news she brings, as an encoffineer, as a husband, as a son and as a human being. It is Daigo’s turn to deal with life and death among the people who are dearest to him.
A story of love, of discovery, of revelation and of the transcending human spirit, Departures will linger in your heart and mind long after viewing.

12A (130 min)

Director: Yôjirô Takita

Cast: Masahiro Motoki, Ryôko Hirosue, Tsutomu Yamazaki

Japanese | 2008 | Subtitled

The Offering by Sima Gonsai

'The Offering' is the story of a family disjointed by loss, struggling to heal individually and as a unit. The grief caused by the passing of their beloved mother has created a rift between Maya, a talented dancer, and her brother. The tensions boil over as Maya's brother and father prepare for an important Hindu ceremony a year after the tragedy, and the same day as Maya's Bharat Natyam dance exam.

Sima Gonsai is a film maker based in Birmingham. Originally trained in Indian Classical dance, Sima is a director, producer and visual artist specialising on capturing emotive and compelling stories through film, digital media and screen dance. The Offering is a autobiographical drama short film, telling a poignant story of her younger self and the challenges she encountered when faced with loss.

This film is part of

A Matter Of Life And Death

8 - 14 May 2017

What does it mean to have a ‘good death’? This May, a new arts festival is taking place in Birmingham which takes on the subject of death and dying. As part of National Dying Matters Awareness Week 2017, which takes place from 8 to 14 May, A Matter Of Life And Death festival will host an eclectic lineup of events, performances, exhibitions and workshops, encouraging creative and cultural reflection and discussion on life, death and everything in-between. Activities and performances take place at mac Birmingham and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery throughout the week.