SXSW 2020 Review: Dieorama (dir by Kevin Staake)

“Lisa, I think you misspelled the title of the film….”

No, I didn’t!  For once, I have not misspelled anything.  This film is about dieoramas, which are dioramas that put an extra amount of emphasis on “die.”  Dieorama is also a ten minute profile of Abigail Goldman, who is an investigator for a public defender’s office in Washington and who spends her spare time making miniature crime scenes.

It may be a macabre habit but it’s hard not to admire the amount of effort and detail that Abigail puts into each grotesque little scene.  The dark humor of those involved in law enforcement is often commented upon and while it can sometimes seem insensitive to outsiders, it makes total sense when you consider that these are people who, on a daily basis, are regularly confronted with the worst that humanity has to offer.  Often times, that streak of morbid humor is a defense against giving into the darkness that’s all around them.

I mean, let’s face it.  We all have our ways of dealing with the bad things in the world.  Myself, I watch horror movies and I read true crime books.  When I was much younger, I used to regularly play dead and while everyone thought that was a strange habit, it was actually my way of laughing at my own mortality.  If you can mock death, then there’s no reason to fear it, right?  (That said, I grew out of the habit as I got older.)  My point is that we all deal with the grotesque in different ways.  Some people pretend not to see the darkness.  Some embrace the darkness.  And then others deal with the darkness by acknowledging, personalizing, and then conquering it.

Dieorama also features some interviews with the people who have collected Abigail’s work.  Some of them seem to be a bit apologetic for hanging a miniature crime scene on their wall but you know what?  Never apologize for your decorating tastes!  There’s no need to feel shame for appreciating the macabre.  In fact, in a crazy time, it may be the most sane thing that you can do.

Dieorama can currently be viewed on Prime.


One response to “SXSW 2020 Review: Dieorama (dir by Kevin Staake)

  1. Pingback: Lisa’s Week In Review: 4/27/20 — 5/3/20 | Through the Shattered Lens

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