• Country: Netherlands
  • Initial release: July 2012 (Netherlands)
  • Film Director: Marsha Onderstijn
  • Running Time: 5 Minutes
  • IMDB Grade: 7.4

In the realm of animated films, there are few that can capture the essence of life and death as poignantly as “The Life of Death” by Marsha Onderstijn. Released in 2012 as Onderstijn’s graduation film, this short animation has garnered widespread attention and critical acclaim for its unique portrayal of the universal themes of life and death. In this article, we will delve into the captivating story of “The Life of Death” and explore the reasons behind its enduring popularity.

The Concept: Life and Death Explored

“The Life of Death” revolves around the encounter between Life, personified as a doe, and Death, a ghostly character. Initially, Life is fearful and tries to avoid Death, but as the story unfolds, a tentative friendship blossoms between the two. Onderstijn wanted to convey her own views on life and death through this endearing story, and she succeeded in creating a narrative that resonates with audiences around the world.

Challenging Conventional Portrayals of Death

Death has long been portrayed as something scary and evil in art, religion, and philosophy. However, Onderstijn takes a different approach by depicting Death as a compassionate and gentle force. She wanted to challenge the commonly held fear of death and invite the audience to empathize with Death, to recognize that it is simply a natural part of life. This unique perspective has struck a chord with viewers, who have found solace and comfort in this alternative portrayal of Death.

Nature’s Role in Understanding Death

Nature plays a significant role in helping us process and understand death. Death is a constant presence in the natural world, and its acceptance is ingrained in the cycles of life. Onderstijn’s animation beautifully captures this acceptance of death in nature, highlighting the interconnectedness of life and death. Through the portrayal of decaying leaves and withering flowers, the animation emphasizes that birth and death are two sides of the same coin.

The Impact of “The Life of Death”

Since its release, “The Life of Death” has garnered an incredible response from viewers worldwide. Onderstijn has received messages from people expressing how the animation has changed their perspective on death, helped them grieve, or alleviated their fear of death. Some have even played the animation at funerals or used it in classrooms to facilitate discussions about death with children. The profound impact of “The Life of Death” is a testament to its universal themes and the power of animation as a storytelling medium.

Marsha Onderstijn: Animator Extraordinaire

Marsha Onderstijn is an animator from the Netherlands who studied Animation at the St. Joost Kunstacademie in Breda. Her talent and passion for animation shine through in “The Life of Death,” showcasing her ability to craft emotionally resonant stories. Since her graduation in 2012, Onderstijn has worked as a freelance animator and storyboard artist on various commercial and independent projects, showcasing her versatility and creative flair.

Life Advice in the Face of Inevitable Death

Reflecting on the inevitable nature of death, Onderstijn offers some life advice that holds true for all of us. She emphasizes the importance of being kind to ourselves and others, doing what we love, being true to ourselves, and enjoying the present moment. While these may sound like clichés, they serve as reminders to live life to the fullest and embrace the fleeting nature of our existence.

1 Film Review

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  • “The Life of Death” is a touching animation that explores the profound relationship between life and death. Marsha Onderstijn’s unique portrayal of Death as a compassionate force challenges conventional narratives and invites viewers to reconsider their perceptions. The animation’s impact and the messages it conveys reflect the power of storytelling to provoke introspection and inspire change. Through Onderstijn’s skillful animation, we are reminded of the interconnectedness of life and death and the importance of embracing both as natural parts of our existence.

    In a world where death is often feared and misunderstood, “The Life of Death” offers a fresh perspective, encouraging us to embrace life while accepting the inevitability of death. Onderstijn’s animation serves as a powerful reminder to cherish each moment and find solace in the natural cycles of life.