DVD - 2017
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It's a shame no one wants to talk to them at parties, because obituary writers are a surprisingly funny bunch. Ten hours before newspapers hit neighborhood doorsteps - and these days, ten minutes before news hits the web - an obit writer is racing against deadline to sum up a long and newsworthy life in under 1000 words. The film invites some of the most essential questions we ask ourselves about life, memory, and the inevitable passage of time. What do we choose to remember? What never dies?
Publisher: [United States] : Kino Lorber, 2017
Edition: Widescreen ed
Branch Call Number: DVD 070.44 OBI
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (ca. 96 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in


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Dec 04, 2017

I've been reading obits since I was 8 years old. Like this sterling documentary highlighted, obits are about life. The Times still has full time reporters as their obit writers: their work is highly skillful, writing an entire life in less than a day.

Nov 29, 2017

Fascinating documentary. It's rare when film does writing or writers justice, but this doc. is about more than that. Funny, thought-provoking, nostalgic, too.

Excellent. Sad, when it was over. Four stars.

Oct 24, 2017

I loved this documentary! Have been a fan of NYT obits for some time now and it was thrilling to see the behind-the-scenes workday of the talented, small group of writers dedicated to bringing life to the recently departed. Of course we know that they cover the famous celebrities and historical figures, but my favorites were obits on the lesser-known but influential people such as the inventor of the Slinky. Writing obits is a dying (pun intended I guess) art as many papers do not have a dedicated staff. Hearing how these writers approach their subjects with rigor, respect and sometimes a riotous sense of fun, is inspiring. A lively look at a somber topic (and a fate we all share), this documentary is a keeper!

Oct 22, 2017

Let me first say that I tend to like documentaries. But still, they have to be well-made. Director Vanessa Gould has made a good one. Every aspect of the movie interested me. First off, just learning that The New York Times has a whole handful of obituary writers - I had no idea and I'm grateful to the NYT for supporting this important part of the news business. Second, meeting this interesting cast of characters and getting their insight into the biz is wonderful. They are wryly funny. They are good writers. Although they are writing obits, there can be great urgency to their work. If someone of historical importance dies, they have but a few hours to piece together what was their life - all the little fascinating details that we, the general public, may not have been aware of. One thing a film about interesting obits offers, that a newspaper does not, is historical footage. We get to hear the words of the obit writer and see, for example, footage of John Fairfax who rowed solo across the Atlantic Ocean. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. If you like history, the New York Times or the news business in general, I think you'll enjoy it too.


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