Runtime: 93 minutes
Directed by Vanessa Gould
Synopsis: Every morning, a small staff of obituary writers at The New York Times deposits the details of three or four extraordinary lives into the cultural memory–each life’s story spun amid the daily beat of war, politics, and football scores. It’s amazing what goes on in the obits. There are only a handful of editorial obituary writers in the world, and none are better than at The Times, where obits have become some of the best writing in journalism. Documentary storytelling in print. First drafts of contemporary history. Mirrors of life’s great variety, humour and pathos. Neatly framed vignettes of worlds that will vanish along with their notable stars. Obit is the first documentary to look into the world of editorial obituaries, via the legendary obit desk at The Times. The film invites some of the most essential questions we ask ourselves about life, memory and the inevitable passage of time. What do we choose to remember? What never dies?
It is abundantly clear that Obit was made by someone who, to paraphrase featured obituarist Bruce Weber, has encountered death before and knows how to approach the subject with compassion. -NPR
Readers of the New York Times are bound to enjoy an inside look at one of the paper’s most dependably enthralling sections. -RogerEbert.com