Froilan Orozco

DOC REVIEW: Orozco the Embalmer (2001)

DOC REVIEW: Orozco the Embalmer (2001)

Orozco the Embalmer (2001) / Fair use doctrine.Orozco the Embalmer is a frank documentary made by Japanese director Kiyotaka Tsurisaki and following  Columbian embalmer Froilan Orozco.

I, myself, pursued a career as an embalmer; I thought of it as a caregiving job. No matter what level of kindness someone was shown in life, this is a final chance to be shown love and care before your soulless body is placed back into the earth. Every care and effort should be put into preserving the body and its previous occupant’s dignity. This movie isn’t that…

Orozco the Embalmer (2001) / Fair use doctrine.If you are a true crime or real gore fan, then you will enjoy this, but if you are looking for answers or peace of mind, you will not. This film is more about extreme poverty and one man’s compassion than it is about embalming or death.

Orozco the Embalmer takes place in one of the poorest parts of Columbia with one of the highest crime rates. Death is commonplace and bodies are found around every corner and down every alley. The dead and murdered are stripped and examined in the street in front of onlookers — including children. Many of them would be left to rot if not for one man: Froilan Orozco.

Orozco the Embalmer (2001) / Fair use doctrine.The embalming process in this film isn’t really embalming, at least not as we know it here. It’s more like stuffing using what’s on hand, MacGyver embalming if you will. It’s actually in some ways closer to older methods of taxidermy. Little care is shown to the bodies as they’re handled roughly, gutted, stuffed with plastic bags or dirty rags, and hastily sewn back up. It’s a very different process than you would see in North America where it’s done in a way that’s as non-invasive as possible. A needle is inserted into a major artery, and chemicals are pumped through the veins pushing the blood out. The body doesn’t need to be opened up unless an autopsy is performed. Orozco’s compassion isn’t for the dead but for those they left behind. He performed the procedure for families with little or no money, the families often unable to pay, so they could rest knowing their loved ones received a proper burial.

Orozco the Embalmer (2001) / Fair use doctrine.Orozco embalmed more than 50,000 bodies before his death. He died during the making of the film from complications of a hernia caused by lifting too many bodies.

What I liked about Orozco the Embalmer was that it was raw. A look into the third world and the callousness of life. Imagine living in an environment where death is so commonplace that life loses its meaning. The film was beautiful and cathartic in its own dispassionate way.

Be warned that it does deal with real death and violence including woman and children. It’s honest and completely uncensored.

5/5 shocks for this glimpse into death

Posted by Candace Stone in DOCUMENTARIES, REVIEWS, 0 comments