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Still Life (2013)—EnglandStill Life (2013)—England

Uberto Pasolini wrote and directed this poignant story about a low level functionary in the British bureaucracy of South London.  John May is a case worker whose job is to find the next of kin for people who have died alone.  "That's a strange job you've got, all those people," says one person, to which May responds, "I love my work."  And he does.  In the rare times that he's successful, and when families do not "refuse assistance," as his form says, he will return personal effects that he has lovingly gathered.  And when those who died lonely and alone are still left alone after death, May organizes their funerals, writes their eulogies, attends their burials, and spreads their ashes — the only person present in these sacred moments except for the priest or the grave digger.  May lives alone, and for supper plops a tin of tuna onto a plate, after which he tenderly looks through a scrapbook of photos that he's made of those on whom he bestowed such dignity.  The old photos of lives lived and now gone take your breath away.  This being a bureaucracy, May's job is "amalgamated," and so he is put out of work, but not before he begs his boss to finish one last case pertaining to Billy Stoke. Billy was the quintessential loner and alcoholic, who lived in the apartment across from May, even though he never met the man.  May stitches together Billy's lost story, reconnects his family and friends, and plans his funeral.  The last moments of this story are some of the most powerful that I've ever seen in any movie. I watched "Still Life" on Amazon Streaming Video.


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