Eye-opening ‘Des Morts’ explores death around world


Ronel Ghidey

Underneath all of the dead bodies shown in “Des Morts,” film makers and directors Jean-Pol Ferbus, Dominique Garny and Thierry Zéno show the audience detailed accounts of how different cultures deal with death.
The movie opens up with an American mortician cleaning a dead body by cleaning its nails, closing any openings, and applying make-up to the body to give it a more lively look for when it will be displayed at the funeral. The show then cuts into a painfully long segment of a grandmother’s death in Thailand and how the family lets the body sit for three days and decompose before they bury her.
‘Des Morts’ travels the world, visiting places like Nepal, Belgium, and South Korea, showing how these people deal with the dead and the preparation of the body, making for a movie that’s more graphic than can be anticipated. By traveling back and forth from different places around the world with choppy editing skills, ‘Des Morts’ juxtaposes different funeral practices, making it impossible for viewers to not see parallels between cultures, along with their vast differences while keeping an overarching point about death’s inevitability.
Unlike some of the previous movies that were a part of the Neither/Nor film series, Zeno, Garny, and Ferbus left nothing to speculation about the authenticity of the film, keeping all of the footage in its original language, allowing for a sense of authenticity that made the diversity all the more real and made even it’s more dull segments thrilling.
Besides the descriptive and vivid accounts of doing autopsies and the burying of bodies, ‘Des Morts’ spreads the message that all cultures carry a kind of similarity of how they deal with death, as well as remind viewers about their own mortality. And although the filmmakers may have unnecessarily drawn out parts of the movie to an almost unbearable point, their ability to capture the grief of others allows for the audience to empathize, making their main points ring louder than before.

Did you get the chance to see ‘Des Morts’ at the True/False Film Festival this weekend? What did you think? Leave a comment below.