Life comes to an end in RTD’s top 5 death and dying documentaries

As Daniel Defoe wrote, the only certainties in life are death and taxes, and most will complain about one and try not to mention the other. We have a taboo of talking about death and have created euphemisms to cover our distaste and fear of the unknown. However, for some people, death is their life as we discover in RTD’s top death and dying documentaries.

1. Dying Alone

More and more people are dying alone in Japan with no relatives to mourn their passing, with the phenomenon already getting a name - kodokushi. It can be weeks before their body is discovered, and it is then up to the ‘kodokushi’ cleaners to clean up and dispose of the trappings of life. The film Dying Alone follows the work of a ‘kodokushi’ cleaning company as it goes about the grisly task.

2. Last Wishes

In the Netherlands, a charity tries to make one last dream come true for the dying. The Ambulance Wish Foundation arranges for the terminally ill to have one final life experience before they die. The film Last Wishes follows patients as they visit an aquarium and on a final outing to the seaside so they can add a final tick to their bucket list.

3. Angels of Death

In Israel, the Angels of Death are a particular unit of the country’s military. It is their job to notify relatives of service personnel killed in the line of duty. The RTD film joins the team as they race to tell a family the sad news before they hear it on the TV or the grapevine.

4. The Invisible Women

Indian tradition has it that a wife’s sins are the cause of her husband’s death, and so widows are often ostracised, becoming beggars and seeking charity. RTD’s film The Invisible Women examines how the practice continues today, and visits the Hindu monasteries where they find food and shelter.