Gates of Heaven (1978)
June 7, 2022 6:55 AM - Subscribe

This classic documentary by Errol Morris showcases workers in the animal burial industry while dealing with heavier existential questions regarding mortality and the afterlife.

Currently streaming in the US on AMC+ and The Criterion Channel.
posted by DirtyOldTown (5 comments total)
Having deposited a nearly absurd amount of horror movies into FF lately, I'm making an effort to post some of my favorite non-horror movies that have somehow not yet made it here as of yet.

This one is amazing. Profound things to say about life, death, pets, and capitalism.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:30 AM on June 7, 2022

I remember years ago people would always cite Thin Blue Line in such reverential tones. Don't get me wrong, it is a great film, it was the movie that put Morris on the map, but I didn't quite connect with it. A more knowledgeable friend of mine suggested I look for Heaven's Gate and Vernon Florida instead. After a few tape trades (this was in the pre digital days) I managed to get them. I sincerely fell in love with those 2 films. I still think of them often despite having not seen them in 25+ years.
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:03 PM on June 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

I've always loved Ebert's review of the movie.
"There's your dog; your dog's dead. But where's the thing that made it move? It had to be something, didn't it?"

These words, by a woman who has just buried her dog, are spoken in "Gates of Heaven." They express the central mystery of life. No philosopher has stated it better. They form the truth at the center of Errol Morris' 1978 documentary, which is surrounded by layer upon layer of comedy, pathos, irony, and human nature. I have seen this film perhaps 30 times, and am still not anywhere near the bottom of it: All I know is, it's about a lot more than pet cemeteries.
re:the last paragraph, the cemetery's site is still online.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:08 PM on June 7, 2022 [1 favorite]

That dude rocking out on the guitar on the hillside. I love this movie so much.
posted by Literaryhero at 3:04 AM on June 10, 2022

A more knowledgeable friend of mine suggested I look for Heaven's Gate and Vernon Florida instead.

Heh. I can just imagine the cognitive backlash one would experience, expecting Gates of Heaven but getting Heaven’s Gate instead.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:48 AM on June 11, 2022

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