SUMMARY: A series of animations set to the narration of children interviewed on the subject of death.
WHY IT’S HERE: Karsten Kiilerich and Stefan Fjeldmark’s ‘When Life Departs’ has a simple and potentially manipulative premise which is fortunately executed with balance and emotional intelligence. The short is based around a series of interviews with children about their understanding of death. Kiilerich and Fjeldmark have set these interviews to simple line drawings imitating children’s illustrations, recalling the techniques used in John Halas’s ‘Children and Cars’ and Tim Webb’s ‘A is for Autism’. The animation works effectively but is rather upstaged by the interviews themselves, which range from whimsical approximations of the afterlife to genuinely heartbreaking accounts of personal tragedy, such as a young boy who longs to hold the baby brother he lost to cancer one more time. Ultimately though, ‘When Life Departs’ is not a maudlin film and is more interested in perspectives than obsessed with death. It ends on an upbeat note with a child declaring that she really doesn’t think about death much because she has so much living left to do!