Death is cruel and death is ugly

Charles Cowling

This looks interesting. Here’s a description:

What happens to the human body when the last spark of life has gone? Most people would probably answer: it is cremated or laid in a coffin to decompose under the ground. However, a closer look reveals this to be a very limited view. For there is in fact a wide range of possibilities between the moment of death and existence as a human skeleton, or a pile of ash.

The Austrian director Andrea Morgenthaler has researched some of these possibilities for her first film made for the cinema, Rest in Peace, and captured them on celluloid together with her cinematographer Enzo Brandner. The result is a highly gripping, entertaining, and sometimes hard-to-bear, documentary about what remains of a human being. [Source]

Check out the film’s website where you’ll find a marvellous slideshow of still images from the film. Here.

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I’ve seen a number of these events in person (pyres in the Varanasi Ghats, Cappuccino crypts in Palermo etc), but interestingly the images that shocked me instinctively here were the modern ones, with a technical hue – the cryogenic tubes, the postmortum.

Appears to me that any effective modern momento mori must therefore take a modern form. The old or foreign images of death leave us cold. Our terrifying images of death – for that is what a momento mori is – must be cold, sterile and technical.

Thomas Friese
Perpetua’s Garden Cemeteries