Facets Cinémathèque

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November 24–30, 2017

Chicago Premiere

The Departure

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Film still: The Departure Film still: The Departure
"Sad, tender and quietly moving"
  —New York Times
"An intimate, deeply felt engagement with profound matters of life and death"
  —Screen International
4 stars "A film that explores life's toughest and most transcendent moments with tenderness, honesty and care"
  —Washington Post
"Immensely moving... lyrical and deeply meditative"
"Unfailingly sensitive about issues of selflessness and suffering, The Departure is in a way its own work of meditation"
  —Los Angeles Times
"Quietly devastating... [Director Lana Wilson] handles the emotional subject matter with a subtle restraint that makes the film all the more moving"
  —Hollywood Reporter

In her new documentary, Lana Wilson (After Tiller) takes us deep inside the life of another extreme altruist, Ittetsu Nemoto, a punk-rocker-turned-Buddhist priest, who loves riding his motorcycle and dancing all night in clubs, and became famous in Japan for his extraordinary success in inspiring suicidal men and women to keep on living. His unorthodox approach to suicide prevention includes one-on-one counseling sessions as well as meditation, camping trips, and wild collaborative art projects. But Nemoto also struggles with demons of his own, as he does not sleep, his phone is rarely silent, and his temple is never empty. His days and nights consist of endless therapy sessions and retreats, as he provides guidance to hundreds of "patients" but is only a one-man practice. Now facing the new challenge of fatherhood, as well as rapidly escalating health problems of his own, Nemoto must answer a crucial question: can he justify risking his own life to help others carry on with theirs?

With astonishing access and artistry, The Departure captures one man's wrenching decision between self-preservation and selflessness, in this moving portrait of an imperfect individual dealing with a profound contemporary issue that ultimately affects us all.

Directed by Lana Wilson, U.S.A., 2017, 87 mins. In Japanese with English subtitles.


  • Fri., Nov. 24 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., Nov. 25 at 1, 3, 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Sun., Nov. 26 at 1, 3, 5 & 7 pm
  • Mon.–Thurs., Nov. 27–30 at 7 & 9 pm
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$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation