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Thanadoula

Robin McKenna
2020 | 6 min
Two sisters entwined by love. When Annie disappears, her younger sister, Natalie, seeks her out in an unconventional way: as a thanadoula, accompanying the dying in their final stages. Between their slow and final breaths, Natalie finds a bridge between life and death and, ultimately, a pathway to her sister.

Featuring the exquisite art direction of Elise Simard (My Little Underground, Beautiful Like Elsewhere), Thanadoula was written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Robin McKenna (GIFT), who takes a “magic realist” approach to documentary, infusing it with surreal, dreamlike elements. Blending archival footage and animation in ethereal spaces that blur the boundaries between past and present, between the spirit world and the material, the film explores our complicated relationship to dying and the process of letting go. Two sisters entwined by love. When Annie disappears, her younger sister, Natalie, seeks her out in an unconventional way: as a thanadoula, accompanying the dying in their final stages. Between their slow and final breaths, Natalie finds a bridge between life and death and, ultimately, a pathway to her sister. Featuring the exquisite art direction of Elise Simard (My Little Underground, Beautiful Like Elsewhere), Thanadoula was written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Robin McKenna (GIFT), who takes a “magic realist” approach to documentary, infusing it with surreal, dreamlike elements. Blending archival footage and animation in ethereal spaces that blur the boundaries between past and present, between the spirit world and the material, the film explores our complicated relationship to dying and the process of letting go. A co-production between the National Film Board of Canada and Gaudete Films, Thanadoula layers real-life details with an otherworldly magic, recounting the story of an end-of-life doula brought to her calling through the loss of her beloved sister and the threads connecting them.Two sisters entwined by love. When Annie disappears, her younger sister, Natalie, seeks her out in an unconventional way: as a thanadoula, accompanying the dying in their final stages. Between their slow and final breaths, Natalie finds a bridge between life and death and, ultimately, a pathway to her sister. Featuring the exquisite art direction of Elise Simard (My Little Underground, Beautiful Like Elsewhere), Thanadoula was written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Robin McKenna (GIFT), who takes a “magic realist” approach to documentary, infusing it with surreal, dreamlike elements. Blending archival footage and animation in ethereal spaces that blur the boundaries between past and present, between the spirit world and the material, the film explores our complicated relationship to dying and the process of letting go. A co-production between the National Film Board of Canada and Gaudete Films, Thanadoula layers real-life details with an otherworldly magic, recounting the story of an end-of-life doula brought to her calling through the loss of her beloved sister and the threads connecting them.

A co-production between the National Film Board of Canada and Gaudete Films, Thanadoula layers real-life details with an otherworldly magic, recounting the story of an end-of-life doula brought to her calling through the loss of her beloved sister and the threads connecting them.