Now I am Dead (2018) takes an unexpected turn which transforms the narrative from meta-critical docufiction into an immersive tale. Anthropologist Isabel Bredenbröker and director Philipp Bergmann had planned to explore the status quo of the ethnographic encounter through the lens of Isabel’s research on death in a Ghanaian town. Shortly after their arrival in Ghana, in the midst of filming, Isabel’s grandfather dies in Germany. Baffled by the coincidence, in between assisting an undertaker, visiting the morgue, attending funerals and inspecting cemeteries, she asks for advice. How to react to the death of a far-away family member whilst shooting a film on death in West Africa? Help comes from friends and collaborators: an undertaker, a neighbour, a research assistant and friend, a priest. A second narrative streak in which the grandfather is commemorated in town develops alongside other death-related events, such as the picking up of a soul or the dressing and treatment of dead bodies. The perspective of the foreign visitor is tragicomically inverted and incorporated into a local perspective. The distinction between the other culture and one’s own gets blurred, just as the threshold between life and death can be experienced in a playful way.
Copyright (c) 2020 Isabel Bredenbröker, Philipp Bergmann
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