Sunday, March 16, 2014

Departures: Gorgeous Introduction to the Art of Encoffining

As sentimental as a Hallmark film and yet it is as elegant as the art of encoffining that it depicts. When the ceremony is presented again at the end of the film, I couldn't help but stare at the dance above, upon and around the corpse. When some in the film are disgusted at the procedure, I am stunned, because I am one of those few who have seen it at it's best, while they have not. Once seen, the respect and power of the profession cannot be denied.

And the parallels to music just add a layer to the art. Encoffining, preparing a corpse for coffin placement, has as little to do with western embalming as the work of a conductor has to do with a construction crew. The conductor is all about expressing life and respect for music through his movements, while a crew is all about the fast-and-dirty business of meeting the goal as cheaply and efficiently as possible.

As a movie, it is shallow and sentimental. As an introduction to an amazing art, it is perfect.

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