Last night, for the final Our Community Reads program, Gary Christenson gave an entertaining presentation on the portrayal of the afterlife in film. Highlighting themes such as the desire for eternal life, justice and redemption, Gary referenced many different movies, and they are listed in alphabetical order below. Please note that if the movie is available in our library system I’ve added a link to the catalog. For other titles, please contact the Reference Desk for help obtaining them from other libraries.
For decades, various filmmakers have produced movies tackling the big questions about death, dying and the afterlife. Film is a particularly good medium to explore what the afterlife might look like. Below are some of the movies we’ve come up with that make for interesting watching, as well as links to some thought-provoking lists.
Please also join us on Tuesday, April 16, as Gary Christenson presents “How the Afterlife Has Been Depicted in Cinema,” at 7:00 p.m. in Huntley Meeting Room.
And chime in with your film suggestions in the comments!
Death Takes a Holiday In this 1934 film, Death takes the form of a prince who visits a family of wealthy socialites in order to experience all of the pleasures and pains that go with a flesh-and-blood existence. Perhaps a bit slow by today’s standards, but still enjoyable.
After Life This Japanese film has a documentary style and an unusual premise: After you die you go to a sort of way station where you must select the one memory from life you want to keep forever and relinquish everything else.
Matter of Life and Death (also sometimes titled “Stairway to Heaven”) David Niven stars as Peter Carter, the fighter pilot who should have died, but his “conductor” failed to escort him to the afterlife in a timely manner. As a result, Carter has time to fall in love and with that change in destiny decides he should get a second chance at life. A long, sometimes surreal film–try the opening sequence and you’ll know whether it’s for you.