Monday, April 15, 2013

Memorable Funeral Scenes

At a time when everyone is talking about the death of a major cultural figure, it is impossible to escape the discourse and not think about the death of family and friends.  Regardless of what you may think of her policies and legacy, one thing that is unanimously agreed is that she should be remembered publically (for better or worse).  No one is trying to make the claim that she should be forgotten, but instead she should be celebrated or reviled as a symbol of something larger than herself.  The chosen way that we remember people in culture is to hold a funeral – something that has been represented on screen in many different ways, some poignant and some farcical.  Here are some of my favourites:

Old School (2003)

Everyone always forgets how good a singer Will Ferrell is (in his own special way…).  This is a great song and a heartfelt rendition for his ‘boy blue!’

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1995)

A classic scene... tragic and very british.  A lot has been said of the gender politics in this film (Andy Medhurst famously retitled it "Four Surviving Heterosexuals and a Dead Queer:) but it is undeniably a beautiful scene. 

High Fidelity (2000)

Not so much a funeral but a meditation on death and how a funeral should be constructed.  Very funny and also very poignant.  The scene later in the film at the wake is also nicely done - essentially revolving around John Cusack's deadpan existentialism.
Philadelphia (1993)

Not a funeral as such but a beautiful scene of a wake from Philadelphia.  The film choose to show the cycle of life with lots of babies and home videos, but also manages to use a great Neil Young song to increase emotion nicely...

Empire Records (1995)

A fake funeral held for a goth to show her how much her friends think of her... 

Honorable Mentions

Twin Peaks - 
When Laura Palmer is finally laid to rest the funeral is disrupted in a very Lynchian way...
Garden State - When Andrew returns to his hometown for the funeral of his mother he finds that his best friends are gravediggers with antisocial habits (not that!)

Please add any that I have forgotten in the comment box below

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