Monday, July 28, 2008

Gates of Heaven (1978) NR - 3 Stars

Roger Ebert placed this documentary, by filmmaker Errol Morris, on his Top Ten Movies of All Time list. I thought it was an honest look at a sensitive subject regarding the pet cementary business. Since I work at an animal hospital, I have to deal with people who have lost their pets and for some it can't be any worse then if they had lost their child. I had never heard of "rendering a pet" before I worked at the hospital. Now, I could never consider dispoing of my pet in this way. However, I am not sure why this movie made Ebert's top ten list? While I found it informative and compassionate, it's just a decent documentary, made in the 70's, and I didn't walk away with some moment in awe that would find it on my top ten.

Foothill Memorial Gardens pet cemetery, located north of San Francisco, was started when the owner lost his own dog and could not stand the though of his pet being "rendered" rather than having a nice place to rest. And the need was great, as many animal lovers were eager to give their trusted friends some dignity after they've left this earth. But when the cemetery was forced to shut down, Bubbling Well Pet Memorial Park, in Petaluma, California, was where 450 pets needed to be moved to. The documentary focuses on with the families who have dedicated their lives and time to the preservation of the beloved family pet. The sons have joined with their mother and father and one, a rock guitar player, stands on the hill top playing to the pets below. The family has focused on death which has brought new life within them all.

Cremation is big at my hospital as no one wants to see their beloved pet, end up as a rendered pet. I don't want to gross you out but, many of you might have never given a thought to what they do with dead animal bodies. Every part of the animal is used for something including cement, lip stick and even pet food. Here are a few places to have a peek at if you really want to know. Corpse disposal is one place as well as sign a petition to Stop Rendering Our Pets Into Pet Foods and from Wikipedia.

New Yorker Films
Director: Errol Morris
Producer: Errol Morris
I viewed 7/08

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