An eye into the world of death care (It’s not as eerie as you think)

An eye into the world of death care (It’s not as eerie as you think)

Death and all things associated with it often conjures a gloomy, frightful image. But if you look closer, you’ll find that the death care industry is, above all, one of respect for the deceased. To pique your interest about this meaningful field of work, we share some of the industry-related film productions.

Death is Our Business (PG13)


Image credit: Mediacorp

Comprising two seasons, Death is Our Business is a documentary series that follows Direct’s founder Roland Tay, managing director Jenny Tay, and CEO Darren Cheng, as they come together to keep the company’s values alive. Each 20-plus-minute episode is a no-holds-barred showcase of the work and challenges faced by the trio, along with the rest of the team here at Direct.

“We were approached by Mediacorp to be a part of this production. And we thought it was a good opportunity to give the public a better understanding of our work as funeral directors, which can help to lift the taboos surrounding our job.” – Jenny

In one episode, Roland rushes against time to bring home the body of a Singaporean who passed away in Malaysia without the knowledge of his family. In another, Jenny sees to the final journey of a 99-year-old granny with no next-of-kin, continuing her father Roland’s belief that everyone deserves a dignified farewell. As the documentary progresses into the second season, you can see how Direct is being rejuvenated, with more young people coming onboard the team.

Watch it on: meWATCH

Lighting Up the Stars (PG13)

In this Chinese film, a jaded undertaker named Mo Sanmei meets little but feisty Wu Xiaowen who lost her beloved grandma, the only family she has ever known. Sanmei ends up having to take Xiaowen under his care. Their relationship starts off abrasive and rightfully awkward. As the plot develops, the two grow fonder of each other, forming a touching father-daughter bond.

However, it’s not just their chemistry that improves over the course of the film. With Sanmei gaining newfound responsibility and empathy through Xiaowen, his attitude towards his work changes, too. He now finds meaning in what he does and even grows to understand his own estranged father, the person who forced him into the funeral trade from a young age. Without coming across as unrealistic or self-righteous, Lighting Up the Stars portrays the complications of life, while offering a glimpse into the thoughts and struggles of an undertaker.

Watch it on: Netflix

Departures (PG13)

Award-winning Japanese film Departures is based on an autobiography by Aoki Shinmon. The film’s protagonist Daigo Kobayashi returns to his hometown after losing his job as a cellist, and in a twist of fate, becomes a nōkanshi (a Japanese ritual mortician). Daigo finds the job embarrassing and tries to keep it a secret from his wife and friends. Unfortunately, they soon find out and ostracise him.

In spite of that, Daigo gains a new perspective on his job as he encounters all kinds of deaths, from suicides to accidents. He is inspired by his boss Sasaki, who takes great pride in his work and performs every funeral ritual with such respect, grace, and attention to detail. Eventually, Daigo stops viewing his work as a reluctant means to make money, but as a fulfilling, purposeful profession.

Get it from: Amazon