|Director Takita addressing a New York audience after a screening of Departures subsequent to its winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film (Photo by S. Glick)
Japanese director Yôjirô Takita was born on December 4, 1955 in Toyama, Japan. His first film, Chikan onna kyôshi, was released in 1981, and he currently has forty-four films listed in his IMDb filmography. He is best and most widely known in the West for Departures (Okuribito, 2008), which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year at the 2009 Academy Awards. The win was somewhat of a surprise as it was widely expected that the award would go to either The Class (from France) or Waltz with Bashir (Israel). And no one at the awards ceremony seemed more surprised by the win than Takita himself.
Departures is a touching movie about Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki, who won both the Asia Pacific Screen Award and the Asian Film Award for his performance in the film), a musician who's orchestra is disbanded. Kobayashi and his wife move to a house he has inherited, and he responds to an ad that he thinks is for a position at a travel agency. But the "departures" referred to are those of the recently deceased and the job is to help prepare their bodies for their final departure. It's a wonderful film.
So very Happy 58th Birthday wishes to you Yôjirô Takita from AsianCineFest and your many other fans. And best wishes also for continued successes.