Patrice Leconte, Fr, Can, Belgium 2012
Language: French – Dutch subtitles
In the shop to which the title refers, Mr. and Mrs. Tuvache happily sell everything you need for a successful suicide. Father Mishima – that’s right, he’s named after the Japanese author who committed seppuku – enthusiastically advises his customers: “You only die once, so make it a good one”. And mother Lucrezia – yes indeed, named after the supposed serial poisoner of the Borgia family – is delighted to put yet another stamp in the big cash ledger each time a new sale is made. After all, a customer who doesn’t return must be a satisfied customer. The movie is one long chain of gravestone humor, in a style that’s more than a little reminiscent of Tim Burton but at the same time is very French.
The suicide shop is the best possible illustration of what the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer meant in his incomparable reflections entitled Parerga and Paralipomena (1851) about ending your own life. “Suicide”, writes Schopenhauer, “may also be regarded as an experiment – a question which man puts to Nature, trying to force her to answer. The question is this: What change will death produce in a man’s existence and in his insight into the nature of things? It is a clumsy experiment to make; for it involves the destruction of the very consciousness which puts the question and awaits the answer”.