What a perfect title for all that it connotates. Still Life is a film about a man, John May, who works for a London local council and whose job is to find any relatives and friends of those who have passed away, alone. This film isn’t just about people dying, it is about all aspects of life such as the events that connect people, our fears and motives behind our actions and creation of thought.
Still Life reminds us of what occurs in life yet are seldom seen by us on any day to day level. Apart from an occasional story in the newspaper, we need to know that people do die alone and someone has to address the removal of the body, emptying of the living space, family or friends informed and a funeral to be arranged.
Still Life shows such tender moments of the deceased’s life, such as finger imprints in face cream, an indent on a bed pillow, books propping up a chair missing a chair leg and record collections from their youth, birthday cards and a string of plastic beads. Still Life reminds us people do live and die alone, and that many lives are full of unsolved and unreleased pain. The story also offers questionable comfort and presents a hoard of questions for us to consider about our own mortality.
Films that address a realistic part of life are seldom screened for very long, perhaps because they are seen as confronting. It is without such knowledge that I believe makes life confronting because we fill in the missing gaps with fear instead of knowledge. If you manage to see this film, you will be enriched, moved and aided in your own end of life preparation and hopefully have a very interesting conversation with someone.