As I was watching this film, I found myself wondering to what extent it represents a voyeuristic gaze. Does the body demand respect once it's dead? Does the erotic become more fully realized or completely impossible upon the death of a once-living body? The beauty of this film is that it allows these questions in a way that the bureaucratic silence of technicians does not: to ask would stain the floors.
We're meat and bones, either dead or alive. We'll all go through this one day. The body in the frame is interestingly shown, and puting the legists and the corpses under the same view gives a great emphasis on the body as a form on itself. Horrifying at first, it then became a meditation on the body with formal poetry ; because the body opens like a flower on a legist table.
A realistic view of death, instead of some elevating spiritual thing. Brakhage doesn't exploit, but simply acts as a see-through barrier between the viewer and the corpses. We all end up dead at some point, leaving behind only impressions and results of our actions. A tough film to watch, but its existence is very much justified, when on this day and age the physical aspect of death is often ignored.
Autopsy: From the Greek, autopsis; autos (self) + opsis (a sight/something seen). The act of seeing with one's own eyes. Who'd have thought that 32 minutes of silent post-mortems would make for the most profoundly revealing introspective, philosophical, even spiritual experience I've ever had watching a film? The Greeks, I guess... Extraordinary. I'm indebted to Brakhage.
A very close encounter with death. Makes me convinced that we are indeed nothing but a flesh and blood. It is horrifying to know that we are going to be in a same position as they were, laying cold, naked and soulless. A mere substance without its essence. But I could see life, somehow, in this portrayal of death.