An intimate character study of the complex figure Ittetsu Nemoto, an aimless and rebellious former punk rocker-turned-Buddhist priest. Most famously, he is renowned in Japan for saving the lives of countless suicidal men and women through his wise and compassionate counsel.
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The Departure, sliding with a deliberate melancholy toward the painful reality that concludes its story, benefits from the competent editing by David Teague. Nonetheless, better the subject matter than the technical aspects. (3.5 stars)
Dedicated to the midnight wanderers. A richly symbolic film starring a monk who helps the suicidal choose life by meditating on death; a man who offers advice to the hurting but cannot take his own advice, to the literal detriment of his heart; a Buddhist who seeks to shed desires yet sometimes leaves the temple in the middle of the night, desirous of music, dancing, and wandering.