Corpus Camera

An older couple, Sigga and Runni, reveal funeral photos of their long-dead son who died tragically young. After thirty years, the photos still elicit painful differences between a grieving mother and her stoic husband; Rúna a housewife living in the harsh and isolated west fjords keeps funeral photos of a terrible family tragedy. For Rúna, they mark a profound event which forever changed her and which belong side by side with photos of weddings, confirmations and baptisms; Erlendur and his stepdaughter Úlfhildur, after nursing his wife through a long battle with cancer, use photography to record her on her deathbed, in peace at last. And Sigrún, morbidly fascinated with funerals and wakes, compulsively videotapes acquaintances' family funerals as a bulwark against her own fear of death. When she experiences death first hand however, her attitudes change.

By displaying and viewing these images, the subjects re-live moments of intense personal loss, and in the process of remembering they meditate on the nature of their own mortality. The film also accompanies a body from death bed to burial which is intercut with these stories of grief and survival. Archival photographs of corpses and funerals spanning 100 years demonstrate the largely unacknowledged, yet common practice of post mortem photography by the public.

About the film

  • Type
  • National Premiere Date
    April 2, 1999
  • Length
    57 min.
  • Language
  • Original Title
    Corpus Camera
  • International Title
    Corpus Camera
  • Production Year
  • Production Countries
  • Premiere TV Channel
    Stöð 2
  • Icelandic Film Centre Grant
  • Production Format
    SP betacam
  • Color

Company Credits


  • 1999
    Edduverðlaunin / Edda Awards - Award: Nominated as best documentary