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Not a Bond film. In Damien Hirst’s celebrated creation, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living was a tiger shark suspended in a tank. In this brief, ruminative piece from Thai film-maker Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, that impossibility is something else – it’s the formaldehyde that the shark’s floating in, or that we’re all floating in, or it’s the banal glass tank itself, or it’s the people milling around the artwork in the gallery, peering at it, shrugging, and then leaving to get on with their day.
This feature is a collection of short stories or realist vignettes, based on or otherwise inspired by newspaper stories about tragic or bizarre deaths. A story about a female student killed by a truck that careered off the road – a woman who, just a few moments before, had been hanging out with her friends in a hotel room and had volunteered to step out to get beer – is dramatised with a simple scene showing the ordinary, undramatic, untragic hanging out: chatting, laughing. Later, a maid silently comes to clean the empty room.
A story about a man who takes his own life after posting something about it on Facebook leads us to the cold way his ex-girlfriend had been treating him. But he had sort of been stalking her, so things aren’t as simple as they appear. There are many other scenes like this, in which death is eerily right around the corner, just when normality had seemed impregnable. But then that is what death is – it renders our response irrelevant. In Larkin’s words: no different whined at than withstood. There is an interview with an old man who is 104, who says he wouldn’t mind dying, but is lucid enough to rebuke young people for not making the most of their lives.
Die Tomorrow is about the most important subject there is; the subject that, as the years go by, we spend more and more of our time trying not to think about. But it is always there. Perhaps this film should have been longer, to do justice to the theme. Yet no length is epic enough.
• Die Tomorrow is released in the UK on 26 July.
Source: The Guardian
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