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By Eric Campos | April 20, 2002

Is it coincidence that in Park City Utah this year, there were two films about people consenting to have their suicides video taped? Or maybe suicide really is all the rage as it’s expressed as being in Tomoya Sato’s “L’Ilya”, which screened at Tromadance this year. Whatever case it is, both films are completely different from each other despite their sharing of the basic foundation of on-camera suicides. “L’Ilya” is more of a sad comment on the numbing of people’s perception of death by the media, while “” is a completely horrifying experience that goes for the throat, focusing more on the actual suicides and revealing at the same time what sick things people will do for money.
Advertising their service through a website, an unnamed couple go around filming the suicides of people who would like their final moments to be immortalized. The film is mostly made up of several graphically depicted suicides. Rounding out the rest of the film are short scenes of the couple in their car celebrating or arguing over their gloomy project as they’re on their way to the next shoot.
Each suicide is shot in real time. From the time we meet up with the soon to be deceased all the way up to the point of their deaths. There isn’t a single cut…or none that we can see anyways. You might as well be behind the camera while these horrifyingly realistic suicides unfold before you.
Realism is the true star of this film. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film portray death as seamlessly realistic as it is in “”. One after the other, from self-administered lethal injections to shotgun brain scramblings, I was completely floored with not only how real each death looked, but how well each actor portrayed the misery that they were supposed to be in. Either the filmmakers used some of the best special effects and editing that I’ve seen, or these are actual suicides.
Each suicide that we are presented is completely unique from the others, keeping the film interesting even if it is completely morbid. Every person has a different story to tell. Hell, some people don’t have any story to tell, they just get right to business. And each means of death is completely different. For example, the film opens up with the camera following a man up a long flight of stairs, describing the many ways that one can commit suicide and how each of them stand a great chance of failure, all except for one and that’s why he’s heading to the roof of a tall building to jump from. Another example is a man who has decided to give himself a lethal injection because he has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He has chosen this means of death because he does not want to leave a messy corpse behind for his family to see. His point of reference is a book filled with disgusting suicide photos. Each and every suicide in this film has its own little quirk.
I felt completely shaken after seeing “”. It just didn’t seem like a movie that I had watched, but rather a bunch of real snuff films strung together. It’s gonna be quite a while until I get this one out from underneath my skin.

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