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  • Dying: A morbid, maddening and darkly hilarious drama


Dying: A morbid, maddening and darkly hilarious drama

Winner of the Berlinale's Silver Bear for best screenplay, Matthias Glasner's 'Dying' takes a razor-sharp approach to the family drama.

Corinna Harfouch and Lars Eidinger in Dying (d. Matthias Glasner, 2024).

Matthias Glasner’s epic three-hour family drama won audiences over at this year’s Berlinale (it was nominated for Golden Bear and eventually picked up the Silver Bear for best screenplay, alongside other honourable mentions), and it’s easy to see why. This darkly hilarious picture earns the patience required for a work of this runtime; its three-part structure takes a leisurely pace, but it’s all the better for doing so.

The film feels akin to acclaimed directors Ingmar Bergman or Krzysztof Kieślowski’s intense emotional epics, albeit with a little less majesty and more contemporary self-awareness and irony. It’s less beautiful and profound in its artfulness and more grotesque, with a television-like flatness that makes this suffocating drama, unabashed in its razor-sharp prodding at the woes of family and death, so great.

Lars Eidinger plays Tom, a Berlin-based conductor who has just found out his father and mother are both terminally ill. He also has a sister (Lilith Stangenberg), an alcoholic dental assistant barely keeping it together. We begin the film with Tom’s mother (Corinna Harfouch) and husband Gerd (Hans-Uwe Bauer), and then spend time learning about all of their relationships (or lack thereof). Tom is also struggling to co-parent a child with his ex-girlfriend, who is still with the baby’s father. It is in all the chaos that Glasner locates a central nerve ending common to us all: the wretched and inevitable fate we all must face someday as we age, and that our parents will face before us. It is at times maddening, invigorating, morbid and wildly funny.


  • Starts April 25.