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Still Life is a 2013 drama film written and directed by Uberto Pasolini.[1][2] The film was presented at the 70th Venice Film Festival , where it won the award for Best Director in the category "Orizzonti".[3] At the Reykjavik International Film Festival, Still Life received the top award (Golden Puffin) as well as the FIPRESCI Award.[4] It also received the Black Pearl award (the highest award) at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival for "its humanity, empathy, and grace in treating grief, solitude, and death"; and for his performance, Eddie Marsan won the Best British Actor award at the 2014 Edinburgh International Film Festival.[5]

Still Life
Still Life (2013 film).jpg
Directed byUberto Pasolini
Produced by
Written byUberto Pasolini
StarringEddie Marsan
Music byRachel Portman
CinematographyStefano Falivene
Edited by
  • Tracy Granger
  • Gavin Buckley
  • Redwave Films
  • Embargo Films
Release date
  • September 3, 2013 (2013-09-03) (Venice)
Running time
92 minutes
  • United Kingdom
  • Italy



John May is a man struggling with loneliness who works the Bona Vacantia office in the Kennington Town Hall in London, where his main responsibility is locating the next of kin of people found dead in the district with no will and testament. Most cases are open-and-shut due to lack of leads, but when heirs are located, he regularly finds them hesitant to accept the deceased's personal property, and so has taken the practice of offering to organize the funeral himself, paid for by district government, writing an eulogy for each deceased, as an incentive. His boss finds this practice time-consuming and expensive, and so has decided to close his office down once he completes one final case: the death of William Stoke.

Inspecting Stoke's apartment, his sole lead are a series of photographs—one of them of a pork pie factory. He visits it and obtains from one of the workers, who remembers Stoke, the address of Stoke's first lover. The now old and temperamental woman wants nothing to do with Stoke, giving John the impression Stoke cheated on her with the lady who owned a fish and chips restaurant that Stoke frequented. John travels to where Stoke was living at the time and checks all the fish and chips in town until he locates Stoke's second lover, Mary; her daughter, Kelly; and granddaughter.

Mary tells John that they cannot be considered Stoke's kin as "he never wanted a family." She does, however, tell him he abandoned them and landed in prison. At the prison, a guard leads John to some letters Stoke never mailed, where he find's Kelly's address and visits her without Mary's knowledge. Kelly is taken aback to hear her father is dead, but cuts John off when he tries to offer to organize the funeral, sending him instead to Jumbo: a man that served in the military alongside Stoke.

Jumbo remembers Stoke fondly, but shows no interest in the funeral. He refers John to a homeless shelter where he saw Stoke last. John meets two homeless men there who agree to talk to him in exchange for a drink. However, they, too, show no interest in the funeral. Considering this the end of the line, John returns to his office to ready it for decommissioning. He receives a phone call there from Kelly who has accepted to be Stoke's next of kin.

John meets with Kelly to inform her of what she has inherited, and Kelly invites John to tea, which makes John smile for the first time in the film, under the promise that his loneliness will end. He is hit by a New Routemaster bus soon after and bleeds to death, still smiling, on the asphalt.

However, there is no one to locate his next of kin, since the office has closed down. His funeral is attended only by the ghosts of the people he has buried. Stoke's funeral, which is shown to have been occurring at the same moment in the same cemetery, is attended by all the people John contacted throughout the film.



  1. ^ Simona Santoni (12 December 2013). "Still Life di Uberto Pasolini, al cinema una piccola perla sulla solitudine". Panorama. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  2. ^ David Rooney (9 September 2013). "Still Life: Venice Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  3. ^ Matteo Bartocci (7 September 2013). "Pasolini miglior regia a Orizzonti per "Still life"". Il manifesto. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  4. ^ "RIFF 2013 Awards: Still Life wins Golden Puffin". Reykjavik International Film Festival. 5 October 2013. Archived from the original on 15 February 2014.
  5. ^ Jugu Abraham. "Movies that make you think". Retrieved 17 October 2014.

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