Death: A perilous subject that is often hard to discuss, yet a disparaging reality that we can’t ignore. At some point or another life comes to an end; often too soon (unexpected tragedies) for many. Death has a way of creeping it’s way into the atmosphere and producing havoc, and the events within the past few weeks over in the Middle East are a clear indication of the destruction that the undertaker (death) can cause.
Openly discussing subjects such as death are sometimes viewed as taboo in various societies (while others rivel in it), but in the world of creativity and expression through film, death is an excellent subject matter for thought provoking revelations.
Films have the power to create change, inspire conscious thought, or just entertain merely through comedy, drama, or sheer violence.
The topic of death in films is often driven by raw violence and senseless killing, or at the least some form of revenge. However, in the short film The Backwater Gospel, death takes the form of a deeper sociological commentary, as well as a disturbing outbreak of violence.
The Backwater Gospel is a stunning (yet disturbing) thought provoking animated short film from The Animation Workshop. For those of you who may not know, The Animation Workshop is one of the world’s leading animation studios and it’s based in Denmark. For years the animators their have executed remarkable projects and The Backwater Gospel is one of the projects from 2011 that made quite a statement.
So what exactly is the film about? Well it’s the story of the Undertaker(death) coming to town and the religious folks quivering with fear at the thought of who death is coming to get. Which in contrast to the beliefs of their religion and the preaching of the pastor, they shouldn’t be living in fear. Yet, fear is a powerful weapon and it begins to consume the small town and the Church members. Shortly afterwards, the fear leads to a murderous rampage being unleashed in the town. And what about death? Well, the Undertaker sits back and watches the chaos unfold.
This film caught my attention for a few reasons. First off, I must say that the animation and overall characterization is impeccable; expect nothing less than greatness from The Animation Workshop. Secondly, the film touches on the social commentary of religion and the chaos that can be caused on one’s own accord. Death didn’t have to even lift a finger, the “saints” acted on their “unholy nature” and took actions into their own hands–casting the first stone on the town’s apparent “sinner.”
Of course, I don’t want to spoil every aspect of the short film and all the events that unfold, so I highly recommend you watch the hauntingly disturbing film for yourself. I’ve given you the gist of the film, but you need to watch for yourself and formulate your own opinion of it. It’s a little under ten minutes in runtime and you will surely be left staring at your computer screen analyzing the events that proceeded death’s arrival.