Grades 10 - 12, College, Adults
Directed by Helen Whitney
Produced by Helen Whitney, Katie Taber
DVD Purchase $595, Rent $175
US Release Date: 2021
Copyright Date: 2017
DVD ISBN: 1-948745-65-8
Death And Dying
Awards and Festivals
National Broadcast on PBS
Austin Film Festival
Chagrin Film Festival
Hamptons Documentary Festival
Into The Night|
Portraits of Life and Death
2-DVD set features intimate, provocative stories of men and women forever changed by their encounters with mortality.
We don't know how. We don't know when. But death comes for us all.
To be human is to wrestle with this truth and with the great unanswered question: How do we live with death in our eye? Do we go gently or raging against the dying light? Do we depart with equanimity or with anger? With clenched fists or more commonly with denial? Or do we see death as something to be fought and even possibly conquered, a challenge increasingly pursued by some of the brightest scientific minds? Finally, what are the stories we tell ourselves? Whether shaped by religion, science, art, the natural world, the power of love, do these narratives sustain us or do they fall away when we suddenly find ourselves "with skin in the game"?
INTO THE NIGHT: Portraits of Life and Death features fascinating, unexpected voices from various walks of life: old and young, believers and nonbelievers, the dying and the healthy, well known and obscure. Among them: Caitlin Doughty, an alternative mortician and bestselling author with her own YouTube following; Adam Frank, an astrophysicist and NPR commentator, Gabriel Byrne, renowned actor of stage and screen; Max More, a cryonicist and futurist; and Phyllis Tickle, a near-death experience spokesperson and religious historian.
However varied their backgrounds, all are unified by their uncommon eloquence and intelligence, and most important by their dramatic experience of death. Each of them has been shocked into an awareness of mortality—and they are forever changed. For them death is no longer an abstraction, far away in the future. Whether through a dire prognosis, the imminence of their own death, the loss of a loved one, a sudden epiphany, or a temperament born to question, these are people who have truly "awakened" to their own mortality.
To learn more about the people featured in the two part series, go to Links in the right hand column and select Part 1 or Part 2.
"This exceptional documentary is full of heart, offering a variety of perspectives on death and dying that will prompt viewers to reflect on their own attitudes, beliefs and values, shedding light on life and living. The featured stories cover death, dying and grief from personal, professional, psychological, biological, medical, sociological, philosophical, and spiritual perspectives, serving as an insightful conversation-starter for rich discussion in classroom and community settings."
Erica G. Srinivasan, Director, Center for Grief and Death Education, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
"Moving, beautiful, and multifaceted...The filmmakers masterfully weave together information and observations about biomedical, spiritual, social, and cultural aspects of death and mourning...Into the Night poses probing questions that will generate important conversations about the meaning of life and death, grief, and the ethics of end-of-life care - and these conversations will linger long after the credits roll. The film demystifies and destigmatizes death, and is essential viewing for students enrolled in courses on death, dying, end-of-life care, medical ethics, and more."
Deborah Carr, Professor of Sociology, Boston University, Author, Golden Years? Social Inequality in Later Life
"Apocalyptic and stunning and, for me, even life-changing. An astonishing piece of work which I urge you all to see."
Anna Fels, MD, Weill Medical College of Cornell University at New York Presbyterian Hospital
"A miraculous and courageous film that is so true, and so deep that it should be required viewing for all mortal beings."
Irvin David Yalom, MD, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, Stanford University, Co-author, A Matter of Death and Life
"We are all going 'Into the Night'--it's one of the few guarantees in life. This poignant and beautiful film can be used as a catalyst to increase our death literacy and understanding of this integral process in life. The stories and interviews have such diversity and depth that there is something for everyone to connect with. This is just what people need to get conversations about dying, death and living well started."
Katherine Kortes-Miller, Associate Professor of Social Work, Lakehead University, Author, Talking About Death Won't Kill You: The Essential Guide to End-of-Life Conversations
"It can come as a surprise that discussing death with others can bring us closer to them, making us realize that we share many of the same responses to mortality. But reaching out, ending the silence, can be difficult, especially in a classroom setting. Instructors can break the ice by showing this excellent film, which documents the moving and deeply personal thoughts and experiences of several individuals whose lives were transformed by the realization that they are going to die."
Steven Luper, Professor of Philosophy, Trinity University, Author, The Philosophy of Death and Mortal Objects (forthcoming)
"Watching Into the Night makes clear that it's a lot more about life...To potential viewers, Whitney has a simple message: Don't be scared."
David Bauder, Associated Press
"A deep and riveting exploration of life's central mystery - death. Featuring a panoply of voices from all walks of life, the film examines how we inhabit our lives in the shadow of our mortality. Brimming with refreshing insight and radical moments of introspection, this extended visit with death should be required viewing for people of all ages. Its central message reminds us that to live life fully means making friends with death. Masterful. A stunning cultural artifact."
Dr. Anita Hannig, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Brandeis University, Author, The Day I Die: The Untold Story of Assisted Dying in America (forthcoming)
"Not until our own death - or the death of someone we love deeply - do we confront the meaning of death and the life we have lived. Into the Night challenges us to explore profound existential questions: What happens when I die? How do I feel about my own death? Do I fear it, rage against it, or embrace it? Is there life after death? This wonderful film will stimulate viewers - young and old - to think deeply, perhaps for the first time, how they will make sense of their own life and mortality. I highly, highly recommend this film, not just for those students interested in psychology, thanatology, or medicine, but for anyone curious about the meaning of life and of death."
Dr. Christopher Davis, Professor of Psychology, Carleton University
"A uniquely profound portrayal of our common human destiny."
Donald Shriver, former President, Union Theological Seminary, New York
"Into the Night provides the opportunity to consider the fragility of life, the process of dying, and beliefs about the afterlife. Viewers will be challenged to consider connections between living and dying from people who have occupied a variety of roles in life. While appropriate for use in formal death education courses and the training of people involved in end of life care, this resource could also be useful in any setting where the goal is to stimulate conversations among adults who wish to contemplate their mortality."
Carla Sofka, Professor of Social Work, Siena College