Saturday Shorts: The Life of Death
Death is a subject that has long fascinated me. Since childhood, I’ve found it interesting that people think of death as a person – that in the end, it will be a human being waiting to take you into an afterlife, if you believe in that. The concept certainly makes the idea of getting hit by a bus a bit more warm and fuzzy. Point is, death has long been the subject of the human experience, because people want to get to know what the inevitable looks like. They want to be able to connect with it, for it to be more like them, so that they’re not stepping entirely into the unfamiliar when the time comes. Marsha Onderstijn directed this take on the idea of Death falling in love with Life. Here’s The Life of Death, with music by Ramon de Wilde.
The music reminded me a bit of the score of What Dreams May Come, which is certainly a beautiful movie if you’ve never read the Matheson book (I choose to treat them as separate entities, which makes me happier and helps me find this film a moving statement on death, grief and love). I found that quality fitting, because those same elements are reflected in this short. Death does have a type of Nordic feel, which I appreciated – not entirely human, but ethereal. There aren’t any grand speeches here, but the sentiments transcend language. There’s a fascination with the way something simple moves through life. There’s a steadfast devotion to The Thing You Love, and a type of fear that your own nature will somehow spoil the beautiful thing you love so much. Death can’t bring itself to kill something that brings it joy and meaning, but when the time comes, there’s a willingness of Life to walk to it. When you’re truly ready, it’s with ease and comfort that you walk into the void. It’s acceptance and embrace of the inevitable. It’s a bit like falling in love.