The Funeral Dancer

When funerals are status symbols, expectations are high and morals are low. Jazz is a funeral entertainer with problems of her own.

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: 09:31

Free To View

3.5 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Natalie MacMahon,

Director/s : Natalie MacMahon, 

Writer/s : Natalie MacMahon, 

Actor/s : Mara Scherzinger, Annette Pausch


A Black Mirror

Jazz is a dancer for funerals, performing at the wake of Pallua, a girl who killed herself because she lost her smartphone.

This near-future funeral is all style over substance, with dance music and a nightclub ambience. The mourners display themselves in black glitzy clothes and take selfie-videos. The funeral’s success is rated by view numbers, and in a bleakly comic moment the father must repeat his speech when the streaming link goes down.

The valediction is all about Pallua’s followers, and how the video of her suicide got more views than she’d ever had. “It would have made her happy,” says her brother, immune to all irony.

Even the minute’s silence is set to music. There are no tears, just glitter on the cheeks. The only emotion comes from Jazz, the dancer, and Pallua’s father begs her to stay longer because viewing numbers are rocketing and the funeral might get sponsored.

Meanwhile, Jazz’s own mother is dying at home.

A couple of things would improve the film. It is stylishly shot, with great use of colour, but still one senses the director holding back: if ever there was a reason for even bolder camera movement, this was surely one. The mood-breaking and irrelevant final scene at the funeral agency is ill-conceived. And an edit that gave more of Jazz’s point of view would better counterpoint her own tragedy against the ceremony of ersatz mourning.

That said, The Funeral Dancer is an acerbic statement about our soulless smartphone culture. Multiple award winning director Natalie MacMahon knows what science fiction does best: it projects society forwards in time, so we can look back to view ourselves more clearly.

[The screener link is to the trailer. The full film will be posted as soon as it is available.]