Director: Joo Joostberens / Poland 2023
Category: Society/Religion/Spirituality/Art & Culture
Production: Aia Asé, Joo Joostberens: Aia Asé Pictures
Language: Polish

Subtitles: English
Length: 45/54 minutes

Goodbye My Wonderful World by Joo Joostberens is the story of an unusual project which explores the meaning of death and mourning. 

“Goodbye, My Wonderful World” reflects on a topic that is still taboo in our society: Why are we running away from death? Can you prepare for the death of a loved one? Who can act as a “mourning companion”? The movie tries to answer these and many other questions.
The film not only talks about death, but death appears in it. Most people die in hospitals, death has almost disappeared from our homes. We are a generation who rarely meets it. Nowadays by the fact that the death sphere has been shifted from private space to the professional’s sphere, there was a void. That is why the profession of a “mourning companion” has been created. More and more people are using such a service. Also to stop being afraid of alone death, as well as talking about it.
This documentary film helps us to understand that death and mourning cannot be eliminated from our lives. The bridge to this topic is music – one of the first in Europe and the first in Poland, which features traditional mourning songs recorded by pop stars in contemporary arrangements. The film tries to deepen in the sphere in an accessible and respectful way on the cultural reflection about mortality and finitude.

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* « Music often tells stories better than words. However, if we contrast it with image, the result is a strong catalyst for emotions and experiences. Every year we make sure that the films featured in DocFilmMusic explore a variety of musical territories and also talk about the most important things.
I am glad that once again, among musical documentaries from all over the world, we will be able to show exceptionally an interesting Polish production:
Goodbye My Wonderful World (dir. Joo Joostberens) is the story of an unusual music and anthropology project which explores the meaning of death and mourning. Known musicians embark on a journey through the Polish countryside in search of traditional funeral songs. The result delivers not only a fantastic album, but also breaks down taboos in popular music themes in an accessible and respectful way. The film’s protagonists save Polish folk songs from oblivion while tackling an extremely important and difficult subject. » Polish music documentaries in the DocFilmMusic Competition / Krzysztof Gierat / Krakow Film Festival

« The film title alludes to a traditional Polish mourning song whose new arrangement was included on the album ‘Rzeczy ostatnie’ recorded by the band Polskie Znaki. The project aimed to dust off folk music, which for centuries had put people at ease with regard to death before it became a taboo subject in modern culture. A story about the creation of this album becomes a poem about passing and death. The protagonists help others to pass away and to experience bereavement. They are accompanied by village singers, professional musicians and pop stars. Life has added an unexpected epilogue to this story. » Goodbye My Wonderful World / Krakow Film Festival


Director's statement:

I completely pushed death out of my life. After my father's suicide. The subsequent departures in the family, in loved ones, in acquaintances, for years I only took a dispassionate note of the inevitable.
In the past, the deceased person was still at home for a while, also family, neighbors and a joint vigil came, singing, prayer was organized. While today, passing away, a person is often just alone, rarely surrounded by loved ones. Mostly, he leaves surrounded by apparatus medical apparatus in the company of strangers of the medical staff. Due to the fact that the sphere of death has been shifted from the private space to the realm of professionals, a void has been left.
Handing over the funeral affairs of a loved one to others to arrange it as soon as possible, we do not soothe the pain, but only postpone it. This pain comes back in the least expected way and often one that we can't handle. And then no one wants to listen to us, because bereavement today is treated as a private experience; something everyone has to deal with, deal with it alone.
Together with musicians from the "Polskie Znaki" ensemble, accompanying them during the process of arranging incredibly moving and timeless mourning songs, I was discovering something new for me - the ways and possibilities of of talking about death, experiencing it, taming it and appreciating the process of conscious mourning. As a human being, I have reopened myself to death, and as a director I decided to talk about it.
I invited people from different backgrounds who are active in the Good Death Institute to talk about it. Each of them experienced death, was able to face it and cope with it, and most of all share their experience, helping others.
The idea of the documentary "Goodbye my wonderful world" was born, with which I wanted to achieve one goal - to strip the death out of its taboo. To give a space to talk about it and tame the subject of passing away. To show that contact with death can give hope and inspire.