Dick Johnson is Dead, dir. Kirsten Johnson, USA 2020, 89 min., English
Kirsten Johnson makes peace with her father’s failing health by staging his death in this hugely moving feature – winner of a Special Jury Prize at Sundance and the Best Director award at this year’s Emmys.
Toggling between observational documentary and fictional fantasy, Johnson peels back layers of moviemaking as she and her eightysomething father face his death by enacting it in countless ways – with her father playing himself throughout. Dick’s growing dementia makes their quest even more of a challenge, but it doesn’t deter the pair’s commitment to explore the unlikely ways in which we might know and love one another all the way to the end. Innovative, joyous and heartbreaking all at once, Dick Johnson Is Dead is a cinematic love letter unlike any other.