About the film
Release Date: November 01, 1995
Filmed in 1974 and edited and released in 1983 (and then rereleased by its director in 2005), DEAD PEOPLE purports to document the final years of Frank Butler, a local fixture in the depressed burg of Ellicot City with a particular fondness for drink and tales of the dead. Over hazy 16mm footage two decades later, Deutsch adopted a painfully unsentimental view of his early approach, colored as it was by notions of ethnographic film and an undercurrent of fetishism for a man he considered somehow more "alive" than himself. While it chafes against notions of authenticity in documentary and incisively hints at the complicity of the subject in inventing his own history, DEAD PEOPLE simultaneously oozes nostalgia, transcending its own judgment as a gauzy memorial for the man Deutsch once called a friend.