Still Life




Eddie Marsan excels – again – in a poignant tale of a professional griever.


Still Life

Loss leader: Eddie Marsan


John May is a professional griever. At least, he makes it his business to grieve. He’s actually employed by the council to trace the friends and family of the recently departed. It’s not always a straightforward matter: so many people have become estranged from their loved ones and have ended up alone, forgotten and disenfranchised. So John May is something of a detective as well. A meticulous and caring man, he is the perfect person for his job. Too perfect, for the council’s liking… 


Shot for under £1 million, Uberto Pasolini’s little gem is in danger of following the fate of its posthumous characters. Yet, as precise and compassionate as its protagonist, it is a film of enormous heart and credibility – and is as funny as it is poignant. Just like real life. Set in South London and starring the wonderful Eddie Marsan as May, the film opens with a series of funerals of various denominations at which the only witness is May himself. For him, it is vital that someone is there to accompany the coffin to its final resting place and he even chooses the appropriate music for the occasion (based on the little evidence he has for the deceased’s preference). 


It is a fact that many people disappear in the cracks of society and end up alone, not unlike John May himself. He certainly sees a reflection of himself in the people he pays homage to. He leads a life of still desperation but at least it’s a life that he cares about.


Cast: Eddie Marsan, Joanne Froggatt, Andrew Buchan, Neil D'Souza, Paul Anderson, Tim Potter, Ciaran McIntyre, Bronson Webb, Lloyd McGuire, Hebe Beardsall.

Dir Uberto Pasolini, Pro Felix Vossen, Christopher Simon, Uberto Pasolini and Ceri Hughes, Screenplay Uberto Pasolini, Ph Stefano Falivene, Pro Des Lisa Hall, Ed Tracy Granger and Gavin Buckley, Music Rachel Portman, Costumes Pam Downe.

Redwave Films/Embargo Films-Artificial Eye.
92 mins. UK/Italy. 2013. Rel: 6 February 2015. Cert. 12A.