Milwaukee Film Festival 2016: Death by Death
By Devvon Eubanks
A person’s existence is a journey filled with pleasure and pain, amusement and sorrow, life and death. But one man’s life provides a boatload of laughter while dealing with his mortality in Xavier Seron’s “Death by Death.” A dramatic Belgian comedy, the film is a story about Michel (Jean-Jacques Rausin), a depressed man who tries to find a glimmer of excitement in his average, mundane life as an appliance salesman. However, dealing with his hypersexual girlfriend, Aurélie (Fanny Touron), and his forgetful and needy mother, Monique (Myriam Boyer) certainly does not make his situation any easier. And in addition to all of this, Michel believes he has worsening health issues. Can this despondent man find happiness in his insane world? Firstly, the cinematography and style of this film is very well-done, and recording the whole movie in black and white is a very nice touch. In a way, the older style of the film makes the comedy more hilarious, as if the humor and wit weren’t already exceptional. While Monique (who suffers from Alzheimer’s) tells people details on breastfeeding her son for his whole first year as a baby, Aurélie shouts vulgar obscenities on how awesome Michel is in bed with her, and it just gets worse for Michel as the movie goes on. There are constant situations of torture and embarrassment that Michel faces throughout the film, completely amusing the audience every step of the way. But as the film nears its conclusion, the viewer eventually connects to the pain Michel faces and the character becomes more than just a subject of humor. With excellent pacing, outstanding humor, and memorable character interactions, “Death by Death” is an amazing film that will keep the audience laughing time and time again.