Dead Good. The subject of death and grief is still shrouded in a sense of mystery. The topic feels taboo, awkward and uncomfortable, and even though it is something that everyone experiences, it can leave you feeling completely alone.
Funeral directors are supposed to be there to take the pressure off of the mourning, to lighten the administrative load, but they have become increasingly impersonal and corporate. Rehana Rose’s documentary ‘Dead Good’ takes a look at two unconventional funeral directors as they try strive to make the most difficult times in people’s lives that bit easier.
The two Brighton-based funeral directors are Sarah and Cara. Both are warm, incredibly caring, comforting and friendly, so it’s no shock that these are the people you want around you when you’re grieving. Cara was inspired to get into this industry when she herself suffered two major losses within quick succession, and felt an incredible disconnect as to what was happening to the bodies of her loved ones. After that she knew that she wanted to create a service which involves the next of kin every step of the way, never leaving them feeling at sea and unsure of what was happening.
We follow the journey of three groups of women who have recently lost a loved one in different circumstances. Each of the funerals they are planning are unconventional, because that’s what their family members would have wanted.
There are brilliant shots, such as a coffin being brought out of a double decker bus, and another decorated in leopard print. There are intermittent interviews with an equally eclectic parish priest, who sits in a pair of shorts with his long hair blowing in the wind. This definitely isn’t your traditional service.
Rose has amazingly managed to gain access to the most intimate moments in these people’s lives, from a woman saying a final goodbye to her brother’s body, to the moving tributes being paid at the funeral itself. It’s a look in on a world that seems dark and unknown, but these people seek to provide comfort and show that you don’t have to go through these things alone. The film is moving, personal and original, and it feels important to have something that shines a tiny bit of light on times that can seem so lonely, and shows that there are people out there looking to ease the pain when it comes to planning the perfect farewell of a loved one.
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