A Certain Kind of Death


Top 40% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2003 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Documentary Competition

Non-Cast Credits

Blue Hadaegh, Gover Babcock


Unblinking and unsettling, A Certain Kind of Death lays bare the mysterious process that happens around us all the time: People die with no next of kin. Dead bodies are discovered by a postman, a motel clerk, a neighbor. If no one claims the body, where do they take the personal knickknacks? A wallet? A photograph? Is it possible to be that alone in the world? What happens to the remains?

Filmmakers Blue Hadaeg and Grover Babcock have crafted an extraordinary film that is equally meditative and fascinating. They follow the Los Angeles county workers who deal with this phenonmenon every day. Florescent lights glow white over the dozens of epople who try an dpiece together the clues left abruptly from the forgetten lives. Interviews are conducts with the conscientious crew of workds "just doing their job."

The filmmakers are a unique style that is absolutely perfect for their subject, Cmaerawork is precise, unaffected, capturing the mundaness of death. No Hollywood ending here. Oddly these dead people begin to seem more alive than any of the still-breathing case-workers. In the end, A Certain Kind of Death reconfirms that the meaning of life is still elusive, yet there is one universal, inescapable reality: We all die.


John Cooper (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.