Key of Life

When Kondo, a wealthy contract killer accidentally hits his head in a bathhouse, an unemployed actor named Sakurai switches their locker keys. Sakurai takes on Kondo’s identity, while Kondo, who is suffering from amnesia, assumes the impoverished life of Sakuria. The reversal of fortune becomes complicated when Sakurai finds himself embroiled in a hit gone wrong, while Kondo meets the lovely Kanae, an ambitious magazine editor who is looking for a simple, honest man to be her husband. [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]


“Departures” follows Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki), a devoted cellist in an orchestra that has just been dissolved and who is suddenly left without a job. Daigo decides to move back to his old hometown with his wife to look for work and start over. He answers a classified ad entitled “Departures” thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency only to discover that the job is actually for a “Nokanshi” or “encoffineer,” a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life. While his wife and others despise the job, Daigo takes a certain pride in his work and begins to perfect the art of “Nokanshi,” acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the family of the departed. The film follows his profound and sometimes comical journey with death as he uncovers the wonder, joy and meaning of life and living. [Synopsis courtesy of Regent Releasing]