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Defending Your Life
Defending Your Life“Described as a wonderfully warm and imaginative existential fantasy, the story of the afterlife of a hapless advertising executive who dies suddenly and finds himself having to prove he is worthy to enter Heaven in a strange area known as Judgement City makes for a funny and entertaining fantasy that balances satirical bite with romantic comedy...”

O-M-G! THE MAN UPSTAIRS will not see anyone until they have been to Judgement City, a fantastic metropolis where lives are re-evaluated and everybody is assessed as either having led a life of sufficient courage to pass on to the next stage towards Heaven or having to return Earth to correct their mistakes.

The highly amusing 1991 film Defending Your Life follows the sudden death of unworldly and unfortunate divorced advertising executive Daniel Miller (Albert Brooks: Lost In America), who discovers there is no easy path to the other side having carelessly driven his just-purchased convertible BMW into a bus.

The quirky
Defending Your Life
is a highly amusing,
extremely enjoyable and
romantic comedy with
a tongue-in-cheek look
at reincarnation and
the afterlife...”
Daniel arrives at a way station in Judgement City, where he is taken on a tram ride along with the other poor souls who have recently passed away to the comfortable Continental Hotel where he is told he may avail himself of the various entertainments on offer and may eat as much as he would like to. The food is, as he has been told, out of this world.

Judgement City is the place where the lives of the recently deceased are examined piece by piece and each has to prove they have led a commendable life of sufficient courage and made practical decisions before they are able to continue on to the next stage of their journey to the ultimate destination: Heaven.

With the arrival of Bob Diamond (Rip Torn), Daniel learns that he is to appear before two judges (Lilian Lehman and George D Wallace) for his assessment, and that Bob will represent him as he faces top prosecutor Lena Foster (Lee Grant), who has only ever lost one case.

In the meantime, he is at liberty to sample the entertainments of Judgement City. At a comedy show, the comedian on stage (Roger Behr) cannot get any laughs and Daniel attracts the attention of the lovely Julia (Meryl Streep: The French Lieutenant's Woman) when he actually makes the audience laugh.

Julia, who is staying at the superior Majestic Hotel, and Daniel start going out together and fall in love. But each has yet to attend their judgement day; and unless they can either pass on or return to Earth together they will lose out on their romance.

Having found the elusive happiness with the person he most wants to be with, Daniel is reluctant to lose it. More worries wait for him at the Past Lives Pavilion where he finds out that reincarnation does exist. Previous lives flash before each person sometimes with exceptionally funny results!

As the dreaded day draws near, Daniel is frantic. Will he be able to redeem himself and complete his journey, as he believes Julia is destined to do, or will he have to return alone to a life on Earth?

Heralded as a rare feat of personal, philosophical filmmaking, Defending Your Life also happens to be divinely entertaining. You get the drift when Daniel is told by Bob Diamond that Judgement City is not Heaven and there is no such thing as hell. "Although," says Bob, "I hear Los Angeles is getting pretty close."

The quirky Defending Your Life is a highly amusing, extremely enjoyable and thought-provoking romantic comedy with a tongue-in-cheek look at reincarnation and the afterlife. There is even a treat in store with a visit from the fabulous Shirley MacLaine.

Defending Your Life also features: Buck Henry as Dick Stanley; Michael Durrell as Agency Head; James Eckhouse as Jeep Owner; Gary Beach as Car Salesman; Julie Cobb as Tram Guide; Peter Schuck as Stan; Time Winters as Porter; Sharlie Stuart as Susan; Beth Black as Soap Opera Woman; Clayton Norcross as Soap Opera Man; Maxine Elliott Hicks as the Elderly Woman on the Tram; Raffi di Blasio as Daniel as a Boy; Matthew Scharch as The Infant Daniel; Kristopher Kent as The Bully; Carol Bivins as Daniel's Mother; and S Scott Bullock as Daniel's Father.

Music Composed by Michael Gore and Erroll Garner; Director of Photography is Allen Daviau; Produced by Michael Grillo; Executive Producer is Herbert S Nanas; and Written and Directed by Albert Brooks.

* The Criterion Collection and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment are delighted to announce the release of Defending Your Life on Blu-ray in the UK on 29 March 2021. Running Time: 111 Minutes.

Director-Approved Special Edition Features: New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Albert Brooks, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack | New interview on the afterlife with theologian and critic Donna Bowman | New programme featuring excerpts from 1991 interviews with Albert Brooks and actors Lee Grant and Rip Torn | English Subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing | PLUS: Essay by filmmaker Ari Aster.

"The quirky Defending Your Life is a highly amusing, extremely enjoyable and thought-provoking romantic comedy with a tongue-in-cheek look at reincarnation and the afterlife" **** Maggie Woods, MotorBar