The best film of this triology of Pittsburgh. All this 3 institutions are in certain way dispositif hidden by society. The law control your body and moral, the hospital rules your life, but the morgue is the interdict space. Our bodies became sacralized by our religions and death became a tabu. What’s Barkhage give us is the idea of flesh, the body is just that after death.
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.