The Film & TV Industry Has Brought Young Morticians Into the Spotlight

Thanks to productions like the summer blockbuster Lighting Up The Stars, which has come to Netflix, and the recent web series Song of Life, the funeral service field has gained more visibility among the public, especially among young people.

Both of the aforementioned works revolve around funeral home workers

Directed by Liu Jiangjiang, Lighting Up The Stars follows a little orphaned girl and an ex-conman turned funeral director. The two form an unexpected bond bordering on a father-and-daughter relationship.

The film won viewers’ hearts worldwide and earned 31.8 million USD in its first weekend alone — roughly 10 million more than Denis Villeneuve’s Dune brought in during its opening weekend in China last year.

The TV series Song of Life tells the story of a Gen Zer who happens to become a makeup artist at a funeral parlor and ends up falling in love with her job.

Streamed on Bilibili, the show has become one of the top hits on the platform, with a score of 8.4/10 on the review site Douban.

‘Death’ is traditionally considered an unspeakable taboo in Chinese culture while working in the funeral industry is believed to bring misfortune.

As a result, the industry has been facing a labor shortage of 10,000 workers annually, with only eight institutions in China offering professional training.

It’s hard to say if these films and series will encourage more young people to tap into this ‘unconventional profession,’ however, it’s inspiring to see the occupation openly discussed and normalized.

Read more about the job market in China below.