Monday, March 22, 2010

Gates of Heaven (1978)

Errol Morris


Funny, inspiring, and bizarre, "Gates of Heaven" is a celebrated pet cemetery documentary that is in reality an unorthodox look at life. Inspired by an article entitled "450 Dead Pets Going to Napa Valley," Errol Morris set out to capture the event which centered around the transport of hundreds of animal remains from one pet cemetery to another. Pet cemetery proprietors, embalmers, pet owners and others speak about life, work, and feelings. We first meet Floyd McClure, a paraplegic with a dream to create a pet cemetery. One inspiration is the death of his collie years before; and the other is the local rendering plant, which turns animals into glue. He realizes his dream, only to see it fail. Then we visit a successful pet cemetery, run by a father and his two sons. One is a frustrated musician, nursing a broken heart. The other is joining the family business after selling insurance in Salt Lake City. Throughout, we also meet the people who have buried their pets.


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