- Director: Rob Epstein; Jeffrey Friedman
Filmed and edited in intimate vérité style, this movie follows visionary medical practitioners who are working on the cutting edge of life and death and are dedicated to changing our thinking about both.
Well-lit rooms with clean linen and soft voices contrast with the topic at hand in this documentary about the passage from life to death. The brave subjects of this film—some dying, others grieving, and still others tasked with speaking uncomfortable truths—opened their painful processes to Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s cameras. In response, the team gives them and us a hospice film to remember as philosophy, science, empathy, and professional effort are brought to bear on the practice of passing away.
Particular emphasis is paid to San Francisco's own Zen Hospice Project and its executive director, doctor and triple amputee B.J. Miller. Once an outlier, Zen Hospice has come to embody a growing nationwide effort to reclaim the end of life as a human experience instead of primarily a medical one. The goal, as Miller likes to put it, is to “de-pathologize death.”