Flight from Death does not try to tackle the question of what happens after death. Instead, it poses questions that ask how dying and death affect living and life. Questions such as: Why do people try to avoid death? Why is death so feared? Why is it so difficult to even think about the inevitability of our own death, much less discuss it? What role does the fear and anxiety of death have in our subconscious? Is the fear and anxiety of death a root motivator behind everyday behaviors?
I'm not sure how much the film actually provides answers these questions, which is good. What makes this film so important is that it puts these difficult, normally avoided questions squarely on the table for discussion, letting us find our own answers.
Ever since I saw Flight from Death at a special screening two years ago in San Francisco, I've thought of it as the most important film I've ever seen. Over time, waiting for the DVD, I wondered if I'd feel the same. I do. For those of us who have spent part of life surrounded by death, this film helps to make 'impossible' conversations possible.
One last thing that I found so wonderfully refreshing is that Flight from Death doesn't treat death in a slow-moving, somber or sullen tone. Through quick editing, some fast-motion cinematography and lively, thought-provoking interviews, the film treats death as a meaningful celebration of life. As I remember Toni Riss (the breast cancer patient interviewed in the film) saying at the special SF screening in 2003, "Faced with death, living my life has never been better."