Cause of Death

crushbeatdrownhangburn. Femicide. "Starting point for Cause of Death: Looking at the way in which images of women were marginalised historically in the archive or how they were depicted.” (Jyoti Mistry, The file card of an anonymous autopsy report documents violent attacks as the "cause of death". Jyoti Mistry constructs five miniature vignettes to the rhythm of evocative spoken word poetry by Napo Masheane, accompanied by an extremely incompatible collection of archival bits and pieces from the EYE-Filmmuseum –­ ethnographic film footage, chorus-line films, and physical culture films. Femicide, witch hunts, stonings. Disciplined and undisciplined bodies, cheerful and exuberant and careful and anonymous. Visual spectacles and impertinences intertwine in an uninterrupted stream of loops and accelerations, circular and collective dance movements, girl group ornaments. Sketchy markings and check marks on the images evoke characteristic and discriminatory power. Flashes or embedded x-rays of skeletal structures that appear among treated and mistreated bodies, accompanied by blows, breaking sounds, clattering stones. Intense gazes into the camera convey pride and broken pride, expectations and the presence of profound experience. Deep scars ..Anonymus was once a girl ... when nameless unknown anonymous dies ...
"The woman with a curious and peering-look on her face at the end of the film is one I find haunting. She is an every-woman in a way and yet she is distinctive and her stare straight into the camera is arresting because she demands to be seen." (J.M.)
(Madeleine Bernstorff)

Translation: Eve Heller

Women’s bodies are always at risk. An autopsy report describes the physical impact on the body that results in death but hides the structural and recurrent violence on women’s bodies that leads to femicide. Through archival film footage, animation and spoken word poetry an experience of structural violence against women is exposed. (Berlinale catalogue 2020)

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Vienna Shorts 2021 - BEST AUSTRIAN SHORT - jury statement / Jurybegründung (Award)

A brave essay film composed of collages and historical vignettes; an angry poem woven into harrowing images that call for justice; a depiction of bodies that are edited and cut between the frames to point at the structural violence that is subjected to them; a work that uncompromisingly sings for life. The Austrian Short Film Award goes to Jyoti Mistry’s CAUSE OF DEATH.

Ein mutiger essayistischer Film aus Collagen und historischen Versatzstücken, ein wütendes Gedicht, eingeflochten in erschütternde, nach Gerechtigkeit schreiende Bilder, Abbildungen von Körpern, zerschnitten und zusammengestückelt, um auf die strukturelle Gewalt, der diese Körper ausgesetzt sind, aufmerksam zu machen: ein Werk, das kompromisslos für das Leben singt. Der Österreichische Kurzfilmpreis geht an Jyoti Mistrys CAUSE OF DEATH.

Orig. Title
Cause of Death
South Africa, Austria
20 min
Jyoti Mistry
Artist Film, Animation, Avantgarde/Arts
Orig. Language
french, spanish
Jyoti Mistry
Peter Cornell
Nikki Comninos
Text Author
Jyoti Mistry, Napo Masheane
Florian Schattauer, Süd Nord Film
Spoken Word
Napo Masheane
Available Formats
DCP 2K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
5.1 surround
Frame Rate
25 fps
Color Format
Digital File (prores, h264) (Distribution Copy)
Festivals (Selection)
Berlin - Intern. Filmfestspiele Berlinale - Shorts
Glasgow - Africa in Motion
Amiens - Festival Int. du Film
Gijon - International Film Festival
Amsterdam - IDFA, Int. Documentary Filmfestival
Bukarest - BIEFF Int Experimental Film Festival
Jihlava - IDFF East Silver Market
Sarajevo - Pravo Ljudski International Film Festival
Uppsala - Int. Short Film Festival
Sevilla - FCAT - Festival de Cine Africano
Paris - Festival des Cinemas Differents Collectif Jeune Cinema
Lissabon - Queerlisboa Lesbian & Gay Festival
Hamburg - Internationales Kurzfilmfestival
Graz - Diagonale, Festival des österreichischen Films
Edinburgh – Take One Action Film Festival
Ann Arbor - Film Festival (The Eileen Maitland Award)
Chicago - Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival (Audience Award for Best Experimental Short)
Paris - L'Etrange Festival
Kiev International Short Film Festival
Leiden - International Short Film Festival
Annecy - Festival Int. du Cinema d'Animation
Grimstadt - Kortfilmfestivalen
Buenos Aires - FICDH Fest. Intern. de Cine de Derechos Humanos
Athen - Psarokokalo Short Film Festival
Wien - VIS Vienna Shorts (Best Film Austrian Competition (Oscar-qualifying))
Taipei - Taiwan International Documentary Festival
Rome - UnArchive Found Footage Fest