Undertaker for Life!

Undertaker for Life!

| 52 min

In a society where condolences can be sent by text and funerals scheduled in our free time, grieving is something we athink we can avoid. Is this really the case? Those with a vocation to look after the dead will tell you otherwise. They know because at the end of the day, they spend much of their time watching over the living. Despite the somewhat frightening name of their occupation, undertakers are actually charming philosophers and keen observers of life. We only see their sombre side, but away from the funeral rites and on camera, they turn out to be amazingly insightful. Their love of life and the living, their dark humour and comforting wisdom are the best remedies against existential despair. In Undertaker for Life!, Georges Hannan tackles a taboo subject and lifts the veil on an under-appreciated world: that of the artisans of bereavement. By providing behind-the-scenes access to the funeral industry, he demystifies a profession we tend to view as grim. But undertakers are anything but gloomy; they’re funny, generous and dedicated. We would gladly go on vacation with them, but sadly, they never have any dead time. Alternating between earnestness and humour, the guardians of the shadows confide in each other with disarming frankness and raise questions that are more urgent than ever. As our increasingly individualistic society abandons long-standing rituals, how do we make sense of death, how do we mourn, how do we preserve remembrance? What answers can religions and various practices provide? In short, how can we cope with death in today’s world? Subtle, moving and often hilarious, Undertaker for Life! shows the flip side of death. Against the backdrop of Georges Hannan’s superb photography and a musical score that’s as unpredictable as it is effective, these benevolent transporters, the undertakers, deliver a truth that transcends time: death, if it cannot be explained, at least allows us to understand life.

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Undertaker for Life!, Georges Hannan, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

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  • participation
    Normand Arsenault
    Guy Belliveau
    Normand Joseph Cormier
    Cora Coughlan
    Brad Deware
    Maxime Doiron
    Léonce Dupuis
    Serge Dupuis
    Cédric Gautreau
    Claude Gautreau
    Souad H'Mida
    Joan Milliea
    Jason Morton
    Michel Thibodeau
    Francis Weil
    Jared Woodworth
  • director
    Georges Hannan
  • researcher
    Georges Hannan
  • scriptwriter
    Georges Hannan
  • collaboration with scriptwriting
    Mélanie Léger
  • editor
    Julien Cadieux
  • principal camera
    Bernard Fougères
  • additional camera
    Georges Hannan
  • location sound recorder
    Georges Hannan
  • production manager
    Michelle Paulin
  • sound editor
    Dennis Morton
  • mixer
    Dennis Morton
  • online editor
    Yannick Carrier
  • graphic designer
    Mélanie Bouchard
  • subtitles
  • foley
    Sam Mongeau
  • foley recording studio
    Jo Caron Audio
  • foley recording
    Fred Maloney
  • music rights clearance
  • original music
    Dennis Morton
  • musician
    Dennis Morton
    Sébastien Michaud
  • soloist
    Cédric Gautreau
  • organist
    Claude Gautreau
  • marketing manager
    Karine Sévigny
  • line producer
    Geneviève Duguay
  • administrator
    Geneviève Duguay
    Sia Koukoulas
  • senior production coordinator
    Audrey Rétho
  • technical coordinator
    Jean-François Laprise
  • video technical support
    Patrick Trahan
    Marie-Josée Gourde
    Pierre Dupont
  • audio technical support
    Bernard Belley
  • legal counsel
    Julie Patry
  • producer
    Christine Aubé
  • executive producer
    Denis McCready
    Nathalie Cloutier
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