Brother Bear is a film that expresses the trials and tribulations of nature and life in regards to death. Being a movie that is focused around the differences between mankind and nature, killing, death, and dying are major aspects of the movie. In Brother Bear there are three main human characters named Denahi, Sitka, and Kenai who are part of a tribal group settled in the mountains. Their group believes that all living things are represented by spirits. These spirits are shown through an aurora that covers the mountains. Since each living creature is created through a spirit, this suggests that upon death the spirit within the living creature will show through the aurora. During the movie, Sitka protects his brothers and gets killed by a bear. Kenai decides to take revenge and kill the bear that killed his brother. Since Kenai’s spirit is represented by a bear, he gets transformed into a bear when he kills the bear that killed his brother.
From this movie, death is portrayed as a spiritual process as well as an event from causality. People are represented by spirits and can transform into those spirits, almost like reincarnation. This shows how religious or spiritual beliefs influence an understanding of death as a process and part of nature. When Kenai got transformed into a bear, it was because of him killing the bear and some spiritual essence transforming him.
When Sitka died, it was caused by the bear killing him and his body ceasing to function. I think that this sends a clear message about death itself because Sitka’s body ceased to function after the bear killed him, it was an event that happened right then and there.
Also, there is a problem with how this media influences our understanding of death. To adults, we see that death is universal and it occurs to all living things and may even have a spiritual note to it; however, children may be too young to understand the concept of spiritual representation and think that when they die or kill a living creature they will automatically become an animal. Here is a link for reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnJDdaUQNRI. The only question I have regarding the relationship between living and dying in this movie deals with the fact that the tribe has to kill living creatures to get their food, how does this play into their respect of spiritual creatures? As far as how society deals with death and dying, yes there is some diversity shown through the movie. Kenai was extremely distraught and almost could not believe that his brother died, but the tribe was more focused on spirits, loving life, and accepting death as part of nature. In fact, they even had a ritual for dealing with the death of a tribe member. Here is another link for reference:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qzay51NJrzs. The use of language, particularly the use of anger and revenge, supported the idea that America is a death denying culture because anger showed a disbelief in death in this movie.