Now I Am Dead


  • Isabel Bredenbröker Goethe University Frankfurt / UCL London
  • Philipp Bergmann



death, ghana, funerals, ewe, critical anthropology


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.

Author Biographies

Isabel Bredenbröker, Goethe University Frankfurt / UCL London

Isabel Bredenbröker is an anthropology PhD candidate and at the DFG funded graduate training group Value and Equivalence at Goethe-University Frankfurt and an honorary research assistant at the UCL Department of Anthropology. She graduated with an MA in Material and Visual Culture at the Department of Anthropology (UCL London) in 2014. She also holds a BA (2009) and MA (2013) in Comparative Literature from Free University Berlin. Isabel is an organising member of the a-disciplinary collective K Hybid that organises symposiums, publications and workshops outside the academy.

Philipp Bergmann

Philipp Bergmann (DE) works as a director in the genres of musical theatre productions, performance and video. His works address the narration and representation of cultural heritage. With the collective K.A.U.&Wdowik, he showed work in the formats of stage productions, films and installations at SPIELART-Festival in Munich, at Staatstheater Darmstadt, at Performing Arts Festival Berlin, Sophiensæle Berlin, Theaterdiscounter Berlin, Frankfurt LAB, Schlachthaustheater Bern, Frankfurt Luminale and 3-HD-Festival Berlin. Philipp Bergmann was a featured artist at the show unidisplay [uni(psycho)acoustic by the artist Alva Noto at Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt/Main and is a member of the Institut für Klangforschung, founded by Heiner Blum. His video work BREAKING NEWS was featred at the B3 Biennale des bewegten Bildes in Frankfurt am Main (2013) and awarded with the B3 Newcomer Award BEN in the category ‚non-linear narration‘. Further works by Philipp Bergmann will be presented in 2019 at the Museum Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin, Zentrum für Künstler Hellgrau and NOWY Teatr in Warsaw.




How to Cite

Bredenbröker, I., & Bergmann, P. (2020). Now I Am Dead. Journal of Anthropological Films, 4(01).