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Alan Holly's Coda (2014)

Its post-life coda can't come close to capturing everything beautiful about life, but that failure is its own argument for life's beauty.

preview image for Alan Holly's Coda (2014). A dark green grassy background, with a nude character lying down, surrounded by black bugs. The title "CODA" is next to him, and the rest of the image is taken up by the various awards that "Coda" has won

NOTE: This Monday short was originally posted on May 13, 2019. We are re-uploading some of Peter Hemminger's amazing Monday Shorts until further notice.

Coda opens with its protagonist suffering a quick and violent death, but it's a very gentle film. The initial shock of the accident is balanced by the ease of the moments after, as the character's soul steps out and walks away. The mood is contemplative, not tragic, and death seems more of a mild annoyance than a serious problem.

The film opens up once the protagonist starts interacting with death. Even here, there's a gentleness to the pleading and bargaining, as each memory re-experienced leads to a desire for more. As the enormity of an end to experience sinks in, though, it's clear that no amount of "more" could be enough.

Despite its deliberate pace, the nine-minute film slips by in a blink. That's part of the poetry of it. Its post-life coda can't come close to capturing everything beautiful about life, but that failure is its own argument for life's beauty.

dir: Alan Holly

syn: A lost soul stumbles drunken through the city. In a park, Death finds him and shows him many things.

2014