Monday, October 12, 2009

The Oscar for "Departures" goes on a tour of Yamagata Prefecture

by Chris MaGee

Toronto Japanese film fans have been buzzing about the special screening of "Departures" that is taking place at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre on October 26th with director Yojiro Takita in attendance. It seems that the eight months since "Departures" picked up the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film interest hasn't dulled here in North America for this heartwarming story of a cellist turned encoffiner, and according to a report posted at interest hasn't flagged in Japan either.

Apparently Masaaki Ujo, the president of the Shonai Eigamura (or Shonai movie park) which provides sets and shooting facilities for films including "Departures", has been taking the Oscar trophy that Takita's film earned around to local Yamagata governmental offices as a way of saying thank you to the Prefecture for hosting the production of what is now this landmark Japanese film.

Why do I get the feeling that it won't be long before we see an "Okuribito (Departures) Museum" open somewhere in Yamagata? It would make sense, I mean there's already a Tora-san Mueseum, and a film museum in Onomichi where so many film were, and continue to be shot. I'm sure it must be in the works, don't you?

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