Source: The Economist
Less than ten minutes into “Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America,” a brief conversation between the widow and the sister of a man who is about to have an unconventional funeral highlights just how much attitudes to death, dying, and grieving are starting to change in America.
The sister begins by saying that she and her brothers used to hate going to funerals; they were always big old-fashioned affairs on a Sunday in the family plot in a Brooklyn cemetery. “We just didn’t like it,” she says. “So this is a very different way to honor somebody. It’s a very good thing to do.”
It’s one of many quietly moving moments in this HBO documentary, which takes a subject most people are wary of thinking of, are keen to avoid, and looks at it straight on.
The starting point of the film is that, in 2018, cremations overtook ordinary, mostly very expensive burials in America in popularity.
Increasingly people want to have more control over how and when they die; and, once they’re dead, their relatives want to celebrate their lives in ways that don’t conform to the notion of a traditional funeral.
“Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America” is available now on HBO.
Read the story at The Economist.
Receive the day’s documentary news every morning. Sign up for DocumentaryNews Daily.