By Brian Brooks | Indiewire January 6, 2009 at 3:59AM
Regent Releasing has acquired North American rights to Japanese director Yojiro Takita's "Departures" (Okuribito), the company announced Monday morning. The film, which lead the Japanese Academy Award nominations and is the country's foreign language entry for the 81st Annual Academy Awards in the U.S., will open in select U.S. cities this summer. The acquisition deal for "Departures" was negotiated between Mark Reinhart for Regent, and Satoko Ishida of Shochiku Co., Ltd. According to Regent, "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..."