Gateway | Dragons & Tigers
Formerly a punk rocker, now a Buddhist priest and suicide counsellor, Ittetsu Nemoto is, needless to say, an exceptional person. Compassionate, intelligent and possessed of an indomitable work ethic, he reaches out to people wanting to die, encouraging them to express their impulses and taking them on special retreats that have been called "death workshops." Does it all help? That’s just one of the questions hanging over this exceptional documentary.
Lana Wilson is clearly a filmmaker unafraid of exploring issues of mortality and violence. She’s the co-director of After Tiller—a look at late-term abortion providers and the threats they face—and here she again applies her courage and curiosity to a hot-button subject. The film’s spirit of inquiry never falters, even when Nemoto finds himself facing illness and contemplating his own mortality. The Departure is as thought provoking as it is moving, which is no mean feat for a film about such an emotive subject. Wilson has produced a serious study, a human drama and a beautiful work of art.
"[A] rich, rewarding documentary that digs deep into major questions without being afraid of the answers."—Kate Erbland, IndieWire