A film by John Bruce and Paweł Wojtasik
2017, 91 minutes
No. 157


A deeply moving and revelatory documentary, End of Life from filmmakers John Bruce and Paweł Wojtasik captures the last years of five individuals in the process of dying.

In preparation for this unique project, the filmmakers trained to be end-of-life doulas and documented hundreds of hours of interactions with their subjects. The Doula works with the dying person, along with those surrounding him or her, to help design, guide and support their wishes for whatever a “good death” might mean for them.

Intimately shot for over four years in hospital rooms, homes and work spaces, and employing an immersive, participatory approach – the filmmakers, on occasion, stepping into the frame to care for or talk to the patients – the documentary allows for viewers to reflect on their own feelings and responses to the human body and mortality.

Yet, throughout, End of Life remains a surprising and beautiful film. “In our culture, almost everyone fears death,” says Ram Dass, the noted spiritual teacher and author, and one of this documentary’s subjects. By approaching death as closely as possible, by allowing us to see the unique quality of life in its final phase, John Bruce and Paweł Wojtasik’s extraordinary achievement here is to disrupt centuries of Western thought and ideology.

Official Selection, Doclisboa
Official Selection, Montreal International Documentary Festival