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End of Life

91 min. John Bruce & Paweł Wojtasik, dist. by Grasshopper Film, www.grasshopperfilm.com. 2017. DVD $375; digital site license $450; DVD + DSL $475. PSYCH
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Having trained as doulas who accompany the dying, the filmmakers document the last years of five people facing death, including Ram Dass, the spiritual teacher who was instrumental in introducing the teachings of the Maharajii to the West. For the most part, the camera focuses on these individuals, often as they speak about their experiences. Their conditions vary: some are more coherent than others; some fully aware, others drifting in and out of reality; none seeming to fear death but approaching it with reflection. While Ram Dass speaks about what life will be like after death, none offer a particularly religious view. The directors at times appear in the film as they help or talk to the dying person, but this is never intrusive.
VERDICT A moving portrait of dying (the actual moment of death is not shown), as viewers are made privy to this phase of life in a most intimate way and are almost challenged to consider how they would approach death or help another approach that state.

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