Full Frame 2019: Exit Music

The film¬† that I found most impactful at Full Frame was Exit Music which I saw on Friday and at the end was shedding tears. I’ve only ever cried in one other documentary but nothing could have prepared me for this film and how it would make me feel. It followed Ethan Rice who has Cystic Fibrosis in his last year of life. All of the film’s music was made by him and the stop motion animation also was his creation. Through the film we see the decay of his body and his thoughts and the reactions of his family with and emphasis on his dad. The film is about death but also how to live life while dying and the people who love you. The film ends with Ethans death which at that point I was already really sad but after was a sort of flash back to Ethan choosing how the film would end when he was still relatively healthy. This film in all of the technical aspects was beautiful with the sound of Ethan coughing being a core point along with his music. The camerawork is seamless and really helps you feel like a part of his family. But this film is so profound and haunting in the sense that you’ve seen the last year of a person’s life and are left unsure how to feel. Should you focus on his death or the film work and how to balance the two. Unsure of weather saying the film was AMAZING is appropriate as someone lost their life and you are making it sound enjoyable. I enjoyed the other films I saw as well but Exit Music really stuck with me throughout the whole festival as it made me question the thoughts I was having. The film with it’s heart wrenching end also is special as recently their have been movies that romanticize chronic illnesses like The Fault in Our Stars. I am not condemning these movies but rather putting into the frame of this film that is about a real person. In a¬†fictitious movies you can cry but still realize that the character didn’t actually die, seeing someones last breath for real is something you can’t unsee or feel any sense of peace in. The family in this film along side Ethan played a big role in giving the viewer an inside look into what they had been through over the years and made me feel that much more attached to Ethan and his story.

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