John May is a funeral officer, a public servant responsible for burying those whose relatives cannot be found. As he struggles to give dignity in death to those who had lost it in life, he tenderly writes eulogies and carefully chooses music to accompany the funerals. But he always fails in his attempts to have someone present, leaving him alone to witness his “clients” last journeys on earth. But his commitment to the dead is not appreciated by his employers, his work will be passed on to a more “efficient” office and he is made redundant. So when an unknown neighbour dies alone and friendless, John May takes on his case as a final assignment. Overcoming rejections and dead ends, he travels across the country tracking down Billy Stoke’s scattered family and forgotten friends, to ensure his will not be another unattended, cheerless funeral. The search takes this reserved, insular man on a spiritual journey. Billy’s life is revealed to have been full of excitement and love, but also anger and heartache, most of all for an abandoned daughter who John May connects with. And as Billy’s past unfolds, John May’s outlook opens imperceptibly to the infinite possibilities of life. [Synopsis courtesy of Venice Film Festival]
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