Review: “The Departure”

We review “The Departure,” a documentary film directed and produced by Lana Wilson.

Andrea Miller
5 December 2017

The Departure

Documentary film

Directed and produced by Lana Wilson
Drifting Cloud Productions and ITVS

What are the three items that are dearest to you in the world? Who are the three people that mean the most to you? What are three things that you would most like to try? Write your answers to these questions on nine separate strips of paper. Then choose the three that you’d be most willing to live without. Crumple them up and throw them away. Now choose three more to discard. Now two more. Finally, throw away the only one that you have left.

That, says Zen priest Ittetsu Nemoto, is what death is. Death is losing everything. The Departure is a moving documentary about Nemoto’s life and work. At a young age, he lost an uncle and two friends to suicide and his grief eventually led him to dedicate himself to helping suicidal people find a reason to live. Today he counsels individuals and conducts unusual but effective death workshops at his temple.

Andrea Miller

Andrea Miller

Andrea Miller is the editor of Lion’s Roar magazine. She’s the author of Awakening My Heart: Essays, Articles, and Interviews on the Buddhist Life, as well as the picture book The Day the Buddha Woke Up.