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IMPROPER DEATH

At the begining, individualism, as the by product of capitalist sistem, was welcomed with ovations.   Independent individuals were favoured as basic unit of capitalist society, individuals who can autonomously manage their life, and they are more eficient by themselves than individuals with close family ties. Just to mention two major consequences of the individuals spending most of their life time alone: the increasing number of singles and alone deaths.  The shadows of individualist worldview and the principles which govern our lives are rarely exposed as they are in these documentaries and the prophets of individualism would never want to face, to watch these shadows.

The documentary The Swedish theory of love quotes the statistics in Sweden, every fourth person dies alone there, people who die unnoticed, missed by no one. This means, a quarter of population dies alone.  Throughout the centuries, human cultures have developed practices which stressed the importance of forgiveness, peacefulness before dying, and the presence of close persons praying during agony and in the moment of death, as well as several practices related to the management of dead body, and the remembrance of the dead person. There is a consensus in many practices, all have an underlying principle that the dying person should be helped to pass into the other realm and the best way to help is to honour the body and the memory of the person.  If we state, that human existence is enhanced by communal experience, then living and dying alone it is bereaved life without it. Improper death is a direct consequence of improper social life. The person, who dies alone, unnoticed for months by anybody, is already socially dead for a long time.

A society made up of autonomous, unconnected individuals make up an unhealthy social fabric. Altay’s perspective follow exactly the traces of how this consequences appear as part of a normality in the life of the protagonists of the film Kodokushi. In this film we can witness both extreme blockages of communication within a family, which throws individuals in isolated loneliness, as well as the traces and consequences of that in the case of lonely death.   Following the same approach, in the film Post Mortem  we can witness how human agency is completely missing in handling dead bodies in a metropolitan crematoria from Berlin.  Both films from this program hit hard, as a pitiless diagnosis, which alarms to rethink and embrace techniques of social healing.

KODOKUSHI
Ensar Altay • Turkey • 2021 • 85 min
POST MORTEM BERLIN
Anton von Heiseler • Germany • 2021 • 27 min
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