"Of The Dead" is a documentary that takes a look into different cultures in countries like Thailand, USA and Mexico and how they deal with death. Be it how they bury their dead, how they say farewell, or how people deal with knowing that they'll die.
This film is made by three people who all worked together on the 1974 film "Vase de Noces". Jean-Pol Ferbus is listed as "Second Unit Director", Dominique Garny was co-writer and actor, and of course Thierry Zéno was producer, writer, editor, cinematographer and director on it. Anyone who's seen "Vase de Noces" knows that it deals with rather odd subjects, and no doubt that if a documentary was being made by the people behind it, it wouldn't exactly be about a pop band or some other shit like that. Obviously it would be about something bizarre or shocking. "Of The Dead" is just that, it's about death. Everyone knows about death and dying, but people don't talk about it enough to really know how other people deal with it.
With the use of footage of the dead, of embalming, and of people close to dying, this film shows exactly what is needed to gain interest. It doesn't shy away from showing in graphic detail that in some cultures animal sacrifice is common at the funerals, or that some people wish to be cremated after they're gone. It doesn't shy away from showing us the dead or how they are being dealt with before funerals. While it's not as gory and sickening as the newer film "Orozco The Embalmer" is as far as death footage goes, this one is more like a documentary and has higher education value. Personally I prefer the above mentioned over this film, because "Of The Dead" often became alot more boring and not as fascinating, because the cultures they show doesn't really stray away from what one would expect from them. I'd say that the subjects that are brought up in this film, there were really only two or three that I felt were interesting enough. The first one is when a woman talks about her husband and how he told her about his cancer. This was something I actually cared about because it was more about life and it's end, than it was about death. The second was where they talked about people who choose to be frozen, in hopes that the future can help them back to life. I've always known that people do this, but here it gave me some insight from the people who work with it, and they never say that it will work, but just that the people they freeze wants to have a chance if it ever would work. The final part that I found interesting was one where they talk with handicapped people who had some weird muscular disease. Unlike "Special Dead", it wasn't to laugh at handicapped people, obviously. But it was cool to hear what people who are so close to dying were thinking about it. Other than these things, all I found worth watching was seeing dead bodies.
The film probably has more to offer to someone who cares about cultures more than I do. I'm not saying you won't learn stuff from this film, because you will. The film has plenty of disturbing death footage, and something I thought stood out was a scene where we see a corpse being cremated. I don't think I've ever seen that in such detail before, and it was really unique to see the burning flesh and the bones becoming ashes. I recommend this film to those who already are into the genre, or to those who are interested in other cultures. If you just want to see real gore and corpses, watch "Orozco The Embalmer". Overall it was decent for what it is, but I wish it would've been so much more.