Now I Am Dead (2019) is an ethnographic short film shot in Ghana. The story takes an unexpected turn which transforms the narrative from meta-critical docufiction into an immersive tale.Anthropologist Isabel Bredenbröker and director Philipp Bergmann had planned to explore the status quo of the ethnographic encounter through the lens of Isabel’s research on death in a Ghanaian town. Shortly after their arrival in Ghana, in the midst of filming, Isabel’s grandfather dies in Germany. Baffled by the coincidence, in between assisting an undertaker, visiting the morgue, attending funerals and inspecting cemeteries, she asks for advice. How to react to the death of a far-away family member whilst shooting a film on death in West Africa? Help comes from friends and collaborators: an undertaker, a neighbour, a research assistant and friend, a priest.
A second narrative streak in which the grandfather is commemorated in town develops alongside other death-related events, such as the picking up of a soul or the dressing and treatment of dead bodies. The perspective of the foreign visitor is tragicomically inverted and incorporated into a local perspective. The distinction between the other culture and one’s own gets blurred, just as the threshold between life and death can be experienced in a playful way.
The film has been published in the
Journal of Anthropological Films:
Bredenbröker, I., & Bergmann, P. (2020). Now I Am Dead. Journal of Anthropological Films, 4(01). https://doi.org/10.15845/jaf.v4i01.2874
Debut Competition Program, Official Selection IX MOSCOW INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF VISUAL ANTHROPOLOGY, 12 - 19 May 20201
Special Mention for Best Ethnographic Record, Official Selection 29th INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ETHNOLOGICAL FILM BELGRADE, 13 - 16 October 2020
Official Selection REGARD BLEU, Ethnographic Film Festival, Ethnographic Museum Zurich, 16-18 October 2020
Official Selection RIGA PASAULES FILM FESTIVAL 2020, 17 - 20 September 2020, Filming Bodies - On the cinematic experience of the sensuous body as subject and methodology of filmmaking
Official Selection GIEFF German International Ethnographic Film Festival, Online Edition, 13 - 17 May 2020, Student Competition
The Freilich Project for the study of Bigotry, Australian National University, December 2019
Film Panel 'On Time' at the 2019 biannual conference of the Finnish Anthropological Society, Helsinki, August 2019
The summer symposium 2019 of the Frobenius Institute, Frankfurt am Main, May 2019
Exhibition 'Faszination der Dinge', Museum Giersch, Frankfurt am Main, 28 November 2018 - 29 February 2019