Death As It Truly Happens
September 24, 2011 5:33 PM   Subscribe

What documentaries accurately depict the dying process?

In the documentary Sick, the film's subject is shown in the days and hours before his death from cystic fibrosis. He is essentially comatose as his body gasps for air. His partner sits at his side, comforting him. This is shown without dramatic buildup, music, or manipulative editing. The scene is completely raw, which makes it all the more affecting.

What other documentaries show the dying process in a raw and unedited form?
posted by dephlogisticated to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
"Southern Comfort" is an amazing documentary about the final year of Robert Eads' life, from just after his terminal diagnosis through to his death.
posted by macadamiaranch at 5:41 PM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

The PBS show Frontline had an episode about an American man with ALS who traveled to Switzerland to have an assisted suicide, and they showed the whole process. You can watch it here.

While I was browsing to look for it I saw they had another episode called Facing Death that might also be of interest to you, though I haven't seen it.

The fictional film Longtime Companion has a wrenching death scene in it, if that is up your alley. The person in question dies from AIDS.
posted by marble at 6:01 PM on September 24, 2011

An episode of BBC's Inside the Human Body shows an elderly man progress from being in decent health to being bedridden to finally the actual moment of death, surrounded by his teary relatives.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:42 PM on September 24, 2011

Silverlake Life is a documentary about a gay couple with AIDS. One of them dies during the film, and it's basically like a home movie (no music or anything).
posted by flex at 6:55 PM on September 24, 2011

Allan King's Dying at Grace (2003) is a documentary that follows the end of the lives of five patients in palliative care at the Toronto Grace Health Centre. Here's a little more info on the film. It's pretty incredible to watch.
posted by Hellgirl at 7:09 PM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

The fictional film "Hunger," a movie about the last days of Bobby Sands, very realistically shows and verbally describes how someone dies from a hunger strike.
posted by Melismata at 7:13 PM on September 24, 2011

In the PBS Frontline documentary The Suicide Tourist, the viewer actually watches the man as he dies (from drinking a physician-assisted suicide drug) with his wife at his bedside. The whole program focuses on the man's life and his decision-making process in the time leading up to his death.
posted by datarose at 7:17 PM on September 24, 2011

The BBC recently aired a documentary called Choosing to Die that shows the deterioration two people that have decided to end their lives by assisted suicide in Switzerland. It shows the moment of death for one of the people and I found it quite powerful.

It's avaliable on Youtube
posted by Medw at 7:19 PM on September 24, 2011

I saw a documentary years ago about a man dying of Aids, and the impact on his partner. I can't remember much about it, other than at the end, as we watch his partner, now not more than a skeleton, die in bed, and his partner repeating "Isn't he beautiful?...Isn't he beautiful?" I know nothing else about it, but that left quite an impact on me. Hopefully myself or someone else can dig up the name.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 9:06 PM on September 24, 2011

I think I found it..Silverlake Life
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 9:23 PM on September 24, 2011

+1 on the Pratchett video above... May not be precisely what you're after, but see also "A Family Undertaking" available on Netflix.
posted by TigerMoth at 12:18 AM on September 25, 2011

« Older My cat is leaking from many orifices. Awesome.   |   No, I can usually bake, honest! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.