City of the Dead shows everyday life in the cemetery Palma Cement, which is located in Palma de Mallorca. We follow life there for a whole year. It may not sound festive, but the film is an observational documentary with both humor and depth that offers more than what the laundry note promises.
We get an insight into the many tasks of the burial and cemetery staff, and the interactions with the relatives who come to bury their loved ones, visit their loved ones or say goodbye. City of the Dead is a hot film that breaks down certain prejudices and fears that pertain to the very last stop of a person's life: cemetery.
To be human
The camera captures – both nuanced and empathetic – what it means to work day in and day out closely on the fact most of us need to think about: the recognition that we are all dying.
In the meeting with José (the salesman from the funeral home), the funeral agents David and Sergio, the gardeners Jaume and Mohammed, José Luis from the crematorium, the guard Gabi and the cleaning assistant Manuela, we realize that reality and death are surprisingly little frightening and a natural part of being human.
Sometimes the days are filled with drama, often there are humorous episodes, and daily routines and interactions often take place with or around the deceased. Observing the usual tasks of the various employees makes us realize how necessary, inevitable and meaningful their work really is.
It is really mostly about dealing with the living, people in their most vulnerable moments, where the masks fall and the only thing left is love and grief.
Working with the deceased. . .