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‘The Departure’ Looks at Unconventional Buddhist Priest

“The Departure” focuses on Buddhist priest Ittetsu Nemoto.

“The Departure,” a documentary about a former punk who is now a Buddhist priest in Japan, is now playing at Monica Film Center, 1332 2nd St. in Santa Monica, through Oct. 26.

Ittetsu Nemoto has made a career out of helping suicidal people find reasons to live. But this work has come increasingly at the cost of his own family and health, as he refuses to draw lines between those he counsels and himself. “The Departure” captures Nemoto at a crossroads, when his growing self-destructive tendencies lead him to confront the same question his patients ask him: what makes life worth living?

The second documentary by award-winning director Lana Wilson (“After Tiller”), “The Departure” is a poetic and deeply moving film that contemplates death as a way of better understanding how we should live.

Lana Wilson

“In its poetic portrait of a man whose quest to help others has cost him dearly both emotionally and physically, ‘The Departure’ proves quietly profound,” said Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter.

“Wilson’s film, a quiet wonder, emphasizes the courage it takes to choose the hard work of living,” said Alan Scherstuhl of The Village Voice.

“The Departure” was nominated for the Jury Award-Best Documentary Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Showtimes: Friday at 7:20 and 9:50 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 2:20, 4:50, 7:20 and 9:50 p.m.; Tuesday at 2:20, 4:50 and 10 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday at 1, 3, 5 and 8 p.m.

The director will do Q&As after the 7:20 show on Friday and after the 4:50 and 7:20 p.m. shows on Saturday.

Wilson is an Emmy Award-winning director, writer, and producer based in New York.

For theater information, call (310) 478-3836 or visit For more information on the film, visit

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