Bureaucracy lives on even after somebody's death, as you can see from the example of an ordinary Warsaw funeral parlour.
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Bureaucracy lives on even after somebody's death, as you can see from the example of an ordinary Warsaw funeral parlour.

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Documentary | Short

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13 March 2010 (Greece)  »

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Refrain  »

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Life and death by-the-numbers
6 April 2006 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Though this film illustrates how death has been reduced to 'The Numbers' it is implied at the end that both life and death have been reduced to the numbers. This film is uniquely shot from the point-of-view of the bureaucrats whose job it is to deregistrant the living to give their survivors permission to buy things like graves, coffins etc. The first image is of tearing out the pictures from identity books. It seems to be some weirdly arcane quasi-religious ritual whose purpose is at once obvious and inexplicable.

The frisson of this film is having the usual bureaucratic rigmarole, petty rules and arbitrary specifications implemented by some not so very terrible people, come up against people at their most vulnerable and emotional condition. These people have just had a loved one die and they are being dealt with by the book, by the numbers.

Background music, when its heard, is a harpsichord concerto.


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