Death in film
The Ceremonies Team keep in touch by email and phone between face-to-face meetings. We’re friends, we support one another, and we share information, observations and ideas.
During on online discussion about films today, Sophie recommended a speech from a Dustin Hoffman film entitled. Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, aimed at fairly young children, with death as its theme. The passage Sophie particularly loves, “for it’s simplicity and dignity and honesty”, is the following:
Mr. Edward Magorium: [to Molly, about dying] When King Lear dies in Act V, do you know what Shakespeare has written? He’s written “He dies.” That’s all, nothing more. No fanfare, no metaphor, no brilliant final words. The culmination of the most influential work of dramatic literature is “He dies.” It takes Shakespeare, a genius, to come up with “He dies.” And yet every time I read those two words, I find myself overwhelmed with dysphoria. And I know its only natural to be sad, but not because of the words “He dies.” but because of the life we saw prior to the words.
[Pause, walks over to Molly].
I’ve lived all five of my acts, Mahoney, and I am not asking you to be happy that I must go. I’m only asking that you turn the page, continue reading… and let the next story begin. And if anyone asks what became of me, you relate my life in all its wonder, and end it with a simple and modest “He died.”
Molly Mahoney: [starting to sob] I love you.
Mr. Edward Magorium: I love you, too. [picks Molly up, sighs heavily] Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.
Sophie wrote, “Although the film got mixed reviews, I was really impressed with how it treated death.”
David Mitchell likes a conversation from the Robert Altman Film Prairie Home Companion:
“I’m of an age when if I started to do eulogies, I’d be doing nothing else,” the Garrison Keillor character says in Robert Altman’s last film. “You don’t want to be remembered?” he’s asked. “I don’t want them to be told to remember me.” â€œBut it’s good and necessary to do just that anywayâ€.
Can you recommend any death-related film scenes?