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Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
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Beloved Girlfriend has a modest degree of hearing loss in both ears. It's a genetic thing but she copes with it well.

Because of this frustrating quirk of DNA she needs to engage the magic of closed-captioning as often as possible, especially when viewing DVDs and such. I don't mind this myself as the dialogue in a good action flick will more often than not be drowned out by one or more explosions, not to mention muddy sound mixes.

So then we got Netflix, which we stream over the 'net through our Blu-Ray player. This is a pretty sweet set-up but, unlike DVDs, Netflix doesn't provide closed-captioning. Except on foreign films, which are of course captioned by default.


Which brings me to a delightful little film we saw this past weekend called "Departures", winner of the 2009 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. (View the trailer here.)

It's a live-action Japanese story of a concert cellist forced by misfortune to abandon his life as a musician, so he and his wife return to his home town to mull their future. Almost by accident he takes a job preparing the dead for cremation.

To say the least, the way the Japanese treat their dead is much different than the way it's practiced here in the States. I know this was just a movie but I prefer their methodology to ours. (I won't even try to describe the ritual but it's beautiful as depicted here.)

The story is well-acted with charming, believable characters. It's funny and fascinating but is a guaranteed three-hankie weeper, though it comes by its melancholy honestly. There's also a sub-plot about pebbles that will break your heart.

I realize foreign films aren't everyone's cup of chai tea but this is an extraordinary movie. Please look for it.


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Raging Pencils salutes the Mystery Readers of
Kenilworth, England
Whoever you are, thanks for reading my fractious little 'toon.

end rant

A blast from the inventive past. The RP from 4-1-09.

how to solve the energy crisis cartoon

end rant

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