An elegant, elegiac film on Thomas Lynch. Three generations of Lynchs work in the chain of Michigan funeral homes set up by Lynch's father. But what marks Thomas out from the rest of the brood is that he is also a renowned poet and essayist whose work has won the prestigious American Book Award and has been in the final shortlist for the National Book Award one of the most eminent literary prizes in the United States. Lynch's writing is noted for its thoughtfulness and dark humour and this film is shot through with the same acumen combined with a sharp sense of the absurd. The film is part manifesto, part memoir. Lynch narrates the documentary in his soft melodic baritone expounding on what death and the business of dying can teach the living. His approach to mortality is never sentimental and far from clinical. He sees in each individual he buries, a history - a friend who died too early, a suicide which shouldn't have happened, a burial which took place decades after the death. This is interspersed with a history of the Lynch clan itself. Thomas describes his own life starting from the moment he saw his first dead body when his father took him into work one Saturday as a 10 year-old. 'I wasn't frightened, but I was changed', he recalls. He also goes beyond his own generation to his grandfather's ancestral village on the west coast of Ireland. There are stories galore - how his Aunt Nora sang all the way home from hospital to certain death; the woman who secured a seatbelt across her dead sister's ashes in the front seat of the car, the friend who died in his sleep with a pearl-handled revolver under pillow. The documentary is atmospherically shot combining family photographs and home movies with reconstructions and actuality footage and adds up to a lucid, entertaining and ultimately life-affirming take on death and what comes before and after.- Written by Anonymous
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