there were five women in Marrickville Town Hall meeting room 1.

of these five women, four were menopausal, and one was, well, not.

together, on a Tuesday morning, they dabbed at fat tears that dripped from their chins.

the local ‘International Film Club’ was screening ‘Departures’ (2008), a 131-min Japanese film with an orchestral soundtrack.

the protagonist is a Tokyo cellist who returns to his Yamagata hometown looking for his next job.

his wife, a housewife, follows with her apron and her turtlenecks, making a cozy nest out of his childhood home.

his mother had passed two years ago (he missed her funeral whilst overseas), leaving behind the home that he grew up in.

we see the wooden floors that bear the marks of his child’s cello’s spike.

we also see the vinyl records left behind by the protagonist’s dad when he (the dad) left his family for “a waitress”.

the story is deep and layered and touching. it didn’t win the 2009 Oscar for Best Foreign Film for nothing.

a room full of non-Japanese speakers, in an Inner West suburb of Sydney, understood exactly what was said.