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The Art of Drowning (2009)

Ponders the possibilities of what awaits us at the end of our life.


Diego Maclean


Billy Collins (poem)
3 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Billy Collins ... Narrator
Winston Rekert Winston Rekert


Black and white animation, based on the poem by American Poet Laureate Billy Collins "The Art of Drowning". Thinking on paper about what each of us can expect at the end of our life. The animated film was directed by Diego McLean. The poem contemplates, or rather criticizes, the theory of one's whole life manifesting itself the very second before one dies. Written by Bazza the Beast

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Animation | Short


Did You Know?


Director Diego Maclean appears briefly in three moments on the film - in a portrait of a couple, being punched in the face and drinking from a bottle. See more »

User Reviews

The "keep it simple yet creative" approach in the animation compliments the poem without getting in its way
21 February 2011 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

I watched this short film recently just to fill a little time if I'm honest – I wasn't in a particularly reflective mood (indeed I had been playing video games and had grown tired of them) and perhaps was not in the correct frame to suddenly be watching a Candian animation pondering the nature of death, in particular the accepted "flash" we will get of our lives in that final moment. I wasn't really in that sort of mood but yet suddenly I was because this film is as effective as it is short.

The animation is very "basic" but I do not mean that in a derogatory way, but rather to say that it keeps it simple – black lines on a white background, without too much ever going on at once. This allows us to have Collins' poem supported in a visual way but at the same time it never threatens to do more than "support". This is a wise decision by the director because not only does Collins have an engaging voice and tone, but his musings are considered and engaging and do have a poetic rhythm to them. It is particularly well done with the voice, the words and the images all working well as a whole.

An engaging and brief short film that knows its strength (Collins and his poem) and focuses on bolstering that, not distracting from it.

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Release Date:

1 May 2009 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

Искусство быть утопающим See more »


Box Office


CAD1,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Stereo (Stereo)


Color (HDCAM)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1 / (high definition)
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