Amour, a film about assisted suicide, won an Academy Award as the Best Foreign Film in 2012. It was beautifully acted, quite melodramatic, and a poignant advertisement for euthanasia. Other directors, however, have taken a more down-to-earth view of how euthanasia might operate. This Australian black comedy, The Mother Situation (click to see film*) won first prize in Tropfest, the world's largest short film festival, a couple of weeks ago.
"House prices are at a constant level of chatter in Sydney and so is suicide," said the director, Matt Day. “I heard someone talk about this out one night saying: 'Well he's going to be fine when his parents die because he's got the house at Balmain and the place on Pearl Beach'. And all that stuff just kind of congealed and came together and made me laugh… so I thought 'I’ll write it and I'll make it'."
Nonetheless, Day insists the film is not opposed to aid in dying. "One of the actors did say to me 'I love this, it's hilarious but let me ask you, is this anti-euthanasia' and I said: 'no it's not'".
* "The Mother Situation" has not been posted to YouTube yet.
Parramatta is just 20 minutes west of the BioEdge office. It’s not a city which has made a huge mark on the world, although not long ago an ISIS-inspired teenager shot dead a police employee and ended up dead himself. It has a lot of historic buildings from the colonial era, surrounded by high rise office buildings, drab shops and a huge park.
A few weeks ago the park hosted Tropfest, billed as the world’s largest short film festival. The crowds watched the films on huge screens as they picnicked on the grass. I was amazed that the winner was a 7-minute film about euthanasia, “The Mother Situation”. With excellent acting and snappy dialogue, it is a brilliant black comedy. Three adult children are delighted to hear that their mother wants to be euthanised – but then she changes her mind.
The director, Matt Day, says that it is not an anti-euthanasia film, but I haven’t seen anything which illustrates more vividly the danger of elder abuse. Sure, it’s absurd and a bit unrealistic but it sends a powerful message. Check it out.
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