Film on Death Looks at Final Days of Terminally-Ill Patients

Published September 14th, 2018 - 07:00 GMT
Steven Eastwood’s Island (Twitter)
Steven Eastwood’s Island (Twitter)

The moment of death has been filmed by director, Steven Eastwood, in his new documentary which shows hospice patients confronting their final days.

The film, Island, follows terminally ill patients for 12 months between 2015 and 2016 at the Earl Mountbatten Hospice in Newport on the Isle of Wight.

It features a seven-minute scene of the final moments of Alan Hardy, a retired north London bus depot manager.

The death which is said to be very undramatic and peaceful has been queried by its audience who expected something more, according to The Guardian.



Eastwood said: 'What's interesting is there isn't an image. You can't see the dying. I think that's fascinating, because to talk about how the film shows you the moment of death, I don't know when that moment is. I've watched it over and over.

As the moment happens, Eastwood can he heard gently snoring off camera after working for 38 hours beforehand.

He added: 'I could clearly see that his death had been very cared for, supported and painless. His death had been as a good a death as you could ask for.'

The camera continues to capture the moments after his death as nurses tend to Alan’s body and comb his hair.

Eastwood had just started volunteering at his local hospice in east London when he saw the gallery’s call-out for submissions on the subject of end of life.

He said: 'I realised that there weren’t a lot of films about end of life. I just thought: how strange that there are very poor descriptions of something as natural as death, that’s happening on every street. In the history of visual art, there’s so many depictions of deathbeds. Isn’t it interesting that it’s fallen out of the space of art?'

In the weeks before shooting Island, Eastwood experienced two bereavements of the grandmother of his children and his closest died, both died within weeks of eachother.

Patients in the hospice were interested in talking to Eastwood about the film but he said, he struggled to get nurses on camera.

He believes that hospices should be more visible in the community to remove the stigma around terminal illness and dying – to make death more familiar, less frightening.

People have come up to him after the screening of the film and said it has made them less scared of dying.


This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

You may also like