Dick Johnson Is Dead is a documentary that showcases how director Kirsten Johnson and her aging father attempt to come to terms with his imminent demise from dementia. The film begins with the duo staging fake scenes in which her father, Dick, abruptly dies. These scenes paint an intimate portrait of the love between a father and daughter. Although it may seem an impossible task given the subject matter, it manages to capture all the delight that can be found from living through dark humor. At its core, this project is not about trying to minimize impending grief, but about facing the inevitability of death. The mutual pride and adoration both Kirsten and Dick have for each other creates a tender relationship that you can’t help connecting with. Recognizing that love inevitably leads to pain, this film also understands that love is integral in what makes us tick as humans. This documentary captures what it means to love and to be loved deeply - despite tackling the horror of old age, grief, and death, it is a tribute to joy, love and life. Dick Johnson is Dead will remind you to spend time with your loved ones and create memories while you still can (and definitely film it!), and it might even make you shed a tear or two.
Marion Cassidy is a sophomore in the College studying History and Theatre and Performance Studies.