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  • Gates of Heaven [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Gates of Heaven [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details) Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B00094AS6I
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 128,176 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J_ Russell on 9 Feb. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This unusual documentary is more than the sum of its parts. Ostensively the story of a misguided attempt to set up a pet cemetery in (where else?) California, it offers an extended meditation on the relationship between animals and humans, and on attitudes to death and burial. Why should we not simply render our four-legged friends into fertilizer, as the beleagured manager of a rendering plant suggests? In short, because we love them, and that love is no less significant or sincere because it is sentimental and self-indulgent. The film proves that if you let 'ordinary' people talk to the camera for long enough they will say something profound: ' at the gates of heaven an all-compassionate God is not going to say, "Well, you're walking in on two legs, you can go in. You're walking on four legs, we can't take you"'. We may smile, but are pets really less worthy of post-mortem respect than humans? 'When I turn my back I don't know you, not truly, but I can turn my back on my little dog and I know that he's not going to jump on me or bite me. But human beings can't be that way'.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 54 reviews
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
human nature on film 24 Aug. 2003
By timmy - Published on
Here's what is amazing about Gates of Heaven: Two completely different people could watch it and both enjoy it from different perspectives. For one, this could be a heartwarming, courageous tale about dedicated pet-owners and their struggle to build pet cemeteries. For another, this could be simply a hilarious look at human nature and its peculiar quirks and tendencies.
Errol Morris knew he was getting more than information about pet cemeteries when filming Gates of Heaven; he was capturing real, sincere moments by people possessing all kinds of characteristics. Sadness, cynicism, laughter, envy, and the unflinching love for pets is present throughout Gates of Heaven. This film isn't really a documentary about pet cemeteries at all. Rather, it is about human beings, the passions we have, and how we achieve them in this life. Near the end of the film as I watched a young hippie cemetery owner playing his guitar up in the hills, I realized how far this film was reaching for, and how successful it was in reaching it.
From the jealousy of a man towards his younger, more successful brother, to the hilarious (and somewhat sad) monologue by a lonely old woman, Gates of Heaven ultimately shows that no matter what people strive to achieve, whether it be pet cemeteries or President of the United States, it's their heart and souls that will remain timeless.
39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
The paradox 25 July 2005
By D. W WISELY - Published on
Format: DVD
You don't know me. I'm not given to hyberbole. But, Ebert's right about this film: There's not a better American film. And it IS a thoroughly American film. It's about business, money, pets, love, success, failure. It's all here. I'm grabbing this and taking it with me when the spaceships come. (They're due in September.)
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Masterwork 2 Aug. 2001
By Nathan Jongewaard - Published on
This film, along with Morris' short, "Vernon Florida", and Orson Welles' "F for Fake" get my votes for the best documentaries ever made by American filmmakers. It's a shame and a sham that this film is out-of-print, let alone not the subject of a Criterion DVD. It's difficult to explain just what is so triumphant and beautiful about Morris' films, this one being his best. You could say, "Well, it's these people he finds," and you'd be right but not really hitting it on the head. He somehow does better than anyone else what you must do to create compelling "true stories" - you must get your subjects to reveal themselves completely, to speak for the camera from their heart-of-hearts. This movie is "about" people who have a passion for their pets, especially the final resting places of their pets. But Morris' camera, within that framework, records an unfolding of universal truths. You can't buy this great movie from Amazon - but your local Blockbuster probably has it. So, as soon as you can, head next door to your local independent video store and rent it. In fact, you should probably hook up a second VCR and rip it for yourself. It's worth it.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The film is more about human beings, rather than pets. 26 May 2004
By Dhaval Vyas - Published on
'Gates of Heaven' is a film by Errol Morris that deals with an ambitious pet cemetery in California. What makes this documentary so facinating has nothing to do with the actual animals, but rather the people who love and care for them. As the film progresses, one will realize it is actually a study of human nature and psychology. With the central focus of giving pets a secure resting place, the film incredibly shows human frailty, ambition, and sadness.
For those who have never had pets, this film can be hard to relate to. My family has never owned any pets, but I've had friends who have had pets. They are very attached to the pets, and the pets are like family memebers. One has to watch this movie with an open heart, or they will never understand the feelings of the people in this documentary. To some of these people, a pet is more of a friend than a human being will ever be, and there is some real truth behind that.
People might get different interpertations of what Morris is trying to show here. To me, 'Gates of Heaven' uses the pet cemetary business as a backdrop to show a much deeper aspects of human nature.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Strange, Sad, Hilarious & Profound 14 May 2006
By McGillicutty - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This unique film represents not only the beginning of Earl Morris' career, but the finest look at the American obsession with the treatment and care of our pets.

The format is simple; we are introduced to a man whose dream of a pet cemetery has failed. The remains of those animals were sent to another pet cemetery that is flourishing. In between, we meet the owners of both cemeteries and some of the pet owners and hear stories on a variety of subjects. It's hard to categorize this documentary as a comedy or drama since the tone is so straightforward. But that allows "Gates of Heaven" to soar above such conventions and reach a level few films ever have.

Some of the interviews are quite funny and I think all of us can relate to a scene early in the film when an elderly lady is holding her dog near her face and asking him to sing. Another very bizarre image is the sight of a man player his electric guitar at full blast overlooking the pet cemetery.

I was particularly moved by the stories of the two sons of the successful pet cemetery owner. The younger one seems quite lonely living all by himself, yet he seems content while his older brother is in quite a conundrum. Having failed in previous businesses and now behind his sibling at the cemetery, he's still proud of the "positive mental approach" he's been taught over the years.

The most stunning moment happens midway through the film when another elderly lady sits in her doorway and relates the story of her deceased pet. She quickly shifts to describe her no good son and tells that story in a way that is so natural, yet using words and phrases that Mark Twain would probably admire and be in awe of.

The presentation of the movie is full screen, not widescreen. But given how the movie was shot and the type of film used, the viewer is not missing much on the edges. I was somewhat disappointed in the lack of extras, such as no interview with Earl Morris. Or even a text background on the making of "Gates of Heaven" which would give some enlightenment to the journey the filmmaker took in making this masterpiece.

No doubt there will be a expanded or "Ultimate" edition DVD released that will include such extras. But for now we have this version and that will do.
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