Film-maker Peter Richardson spent a couple of years gathering and filming the stories of a small group of terminally ill people living in his home state of Oregon. Oregon is at present the only American state to have legalised active euthanasia. Without interjection, moralising, or imposing himself on his story in any way, Richardson delivers a quiet, reflective, intelligent, beautifully moving and engaging portrait of people facing the hardest times and decisions of their lives.
How to Die in Oregon is a dignified film, that allows us an almost unbelievable access into the lives of others.
Although its subject matter is death, dying, and grief, How to Die in Oregon remains a remarkably easy film to watch, and, yes, to enjoy.
Richardson's subjects are brave, resolute, and occasionally very funny as they reflect on the position they have found themselves in, and the decision they face.
It's not often I get to say this, but I feel privileged to have seen this film.
With NZ apparently about to start another debate on the ethics of legalising euthanasia, this stunning documentary couldn't really be more timely. It should be compulsory viewing for our law-makers at least.
Documentary. (107 min)
Directed by Peter Richardson.
August 9, 2.15pm at the NZ Film Archive.
- The Dominion Post
Have you read Kiwi author Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries?Related story: What now for Eleanor Catton?