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Gates of Heaven

  • Directed by Erroll Morris
  • United States, 1978, 85 mins., English

Morris’s classic film follows the shifting fortunes of two Bay Area pet cemeteries. One, San Francisco’s Foothill Memorial Gardens, stems from the lifelong dream of owner Floyd McClure to give Fido the dignity of a human-style burial. But when McClure goes bankrupt, some 450 sets of remains are shipped north to the Napa Valley’s Bubbling Well Memorial Park, and Morris goes with them. In between, Morris casts his deadpan gaze on pet owners, a professional animal byproducts recycler, and other richly bizarre exponents of weird America. “Surrounded by layer upon layer of comedy, pathos, irony, and human nature. I have seen this film perhaps 30 times and am still not anywhere near the bottom of it. All I know is, it’s about a lot more than pet cemeteries.”—Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun Times.

Genres: Documentary

Other Films by Erroll Morris

The B-Side: Dorfman’s Portrait Photography

Portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman found her medium in 1980: the larger than life Polaroid Land 20×24 camera—her’s one of only six in existence. For the next 35 years she captured the “surfaces” of those who visited her Cambridge, Massachusetts studio: families, Beat poets (Alan Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti), musicians (Bob Dylan, Jonathan Richmond, Joni Mitchell), Harvard