Kirsten Johnson Blends Fact and Fiction – /Film

dick johnson is dead trailer

Dick Johnson is Dead, the winner of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Award for Innovation in Nonfiction Storytelling, is headed to Netflix next month, so get your tissues ready because it’s going to make you cry. Acclaimed filmmaker Kirsten Johnson uses her unique eye to focus on her aging father, Dick Johnson, staging elaborate (fake) ways for the man to die all in the hopes of staving off the inevitable. Watch the Dick Johnson is Dead trailer below.

Dick Johnson is Dead Trailer

I missed Dick Johnson is Dead at Sundance because I’m an idiot. But I’ve heard nothing but great things about this movie, and the fact that I got a little emotional just watching the trailer above indicates that this is definitely worth seeing. In Dick Johnson is Dead, “A lifetime of making documentaries has convinced award-winning filmmaker Kirsten Johnson of the power of the real. But now she’s ready to use every escapist movie-making trick in the book – staging inventive and fantastical ways for her 86-year-old psychiatrist father to die while hoping that cinema might help her bend time, laugh at pain and keep her father alive forever.” The doc is further described as “a love letter from a daughter to a father, creatively blending fact and fiction to create a celebratory exploration of how movies give us the tools to grapple with life’s profundity.”

Reviewing for /Film, Abby Olcese wrote:

Dick Johnson is Dead is both a poetic act of defiance and a portrait of love at the end of a life…The movie straddles a cheeky line between humor and grief. Johnson and her father seem to share a love of transgressive jokes, and an innate interest in humanity that give Dick Johnson is Dead a bittersweet, ultimately celebratory air…Johnson’s film reminds us, more than anything, that love involves self-sacrifice and a willingness to get messy. Most importantly, however, love is about presence. It’s about spending time with the people closest to you, and reminding them in words and actions how much they mean to you.

Dick Johnson is Dead was filmed, produced and directed by Kirsten Johnson (Cameraperson), produced by Katy Chevigny and Marilyn Ness, co-produced by Maureen A. Ryan and executive produced by Megan Ellison. Look for the documentary on Netflix on October 2.

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