Skip to content
MUSEUM AND NWFC CLOSED: The Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center are closed in an effort to further stem the spread of COVID-19. All public programs, screenings, and events are canceled until further notice. Stay connected to art, film, and more by signing up for our newsletter.

Directed by Lana Wilson

United States 2016 87 mins. In English

Set in the gorgeous countryside of Giju prefecture, Japan, Wilson’s (After Tiller) film follows Ittetsu Nemoto, a former punk and troubled youth turned Zen Buddhist priest. Contrary to general perceptions of Buddhist priests, he lives an extremely busy life as a counselor to several people who are thinking of ending their own lives, and does so full of grace and empathy. Nemoto’s daily routine is one filled with grief, sorrow, and heaviness—contrasted with his loving family who seem to hang on his every action. As Nemoto increasingly grapples with the true personal cost of his work, The Departure begins to subtly ask profound questions about what it means to live in the modern world. Wilson’s tender, quiet portrait of this most complex of men is “content to let Nemoto and his experience speak for itself, and the result is a rich, rewarding documentary that digs deep into major questions without being afraid of the answers.”—Kate Erbland, Indiewire.

Genres: Documentary

Appears in: Essential Cinema