The only certitude we all have regarding life is that we are born to die.
Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit’s new film, Die Tomorrow, is not so much about Death as it is about trying to make the best with our passage on Earth, now!. You never know…
It could have been a companion piece to some contrasting, more morbid, but visually striking takes on the subject of death: Peter Greenaway’s Death in the Seine (1989), James Marsh’s Wisconsin Death Trip (1999) or Alan Clarke’s Elephant (1989), the film that inspired Van Sant’s own Elephant. The Thai director goes a little further in a remarkably peaceful way. Fatality is almost zen-like. The narrative is based on recreation of various stories of people’s last days or minutes inspired by newspaper headlines.
The director was already no stranger to similar topics. He explored, notably, fatal Illness in the more accessible but rewarding feature Heart Attack in 2016 (https://cinetalk.net/2016/07/16/fantasia-2016-heart-attack-thai-nawapol-thamrongrattanarit/).
As uneasy as it seems,exploration of sudden death, death foretold and other various representations of our ultimate fate are documented and emulated solemnly. It starts with an anguishing time-ticking sound, there is a regular onscreen body count (it reaches about 8000 people which died during our viewing experience) with on phone inquiries involving individuals at various stage of life, expressing thoughts about Death. The simulate, more composed shots, those recreated with actors, mainly offer reaction from those left behind and come up as absorbing. The overall ambiance is meditative and often leaves you with a lasting lighthearted imprint. You just let go. Fascinating.
Didn’t Gandhi once said: ” Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
Let’s start today!
Die Tomorrow is simple, but crafted with a sure hand, displaying a great deal of dignity and brilliance. That’s filmmaking.
FNC 2018 last screening:
Wednesday October 10, — 17:15 Cinéma du Parc