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Discussion Guide


TO DUST hopes to generate more questions than it intends to answer. To challenge, but not to preach. There are no right or wrong conclusions to be made here, just the aspiration and invitation to conversation.

The film, however, does operate with a firm belief that when we cultivate a sense of humility and awe in the face of the unknowable – whether at the outer reaches of science, the upper reaches of religion, or the inner reaches of a human heart – and try our best to carry that humility into our conversations with one another, that that can, in and of itself, be profoundly spiritual.

With that, we hope that you enjoyed the film and encourage you to discuss with passion and respect. The discussion guide is organized by topics and themes. Please bounce around as per your own interests and inclinations.

Shawn Snyder, Co-Writer/Director

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Science Teaching Notes

To Dust — A Story of Love, Loss, and Decomposition

Here, we use the movie To Dust as a scaffold to discuss science in cinema. The following discussion guide contains movie scenes along with scientific discussion questions and additional resources. The topic covered by this case — death — is one that we are all familiar with — at least at surface level. In our society much of the news, social media, and entertainment content we consume contains death and dying (e.g., combat-style videos games, graphic films, and even cartoons), but we often avoid thinking critically about this information. Instead of shying away, this case study tackles the topic head on, providing a way in which to discuss science, critical thinking, and death all at once. We hope this case study is a springboard for more in-depth discussions of our culture’s relationship with death and the portrayal of science in cinema.

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