Peter Carter should have died when he jumped from his bomber, but heaven failed to find him, and meanwhile he fell in love with June, an American WAC controller. As medical diagnosis and celestial diplomacy proceed in parallel, his doctor is killed and becomes his advocate in heaven, securing a new lease of life for Peter.
(...) As John Ellis argued in a lengthy analysis of A Matter of Life and Death, to separate form from content in traditional literary terms is to ignore what is most subversive of tradition in this remarkable work: all its imagery and debate focus on the process of representation itself. The film's reflexivity foreshadows that of The Red Shoes and Powell's later Peeping Tom, films about the making of art and cinema, and its two worlds can also be regarded as the two discourses of fiction and documentary, brought together in a dazzling display of filmic imagination that can stand comparison with the classics of the silent era - like Lang's Der Müde Tod (Destiny) - which first inspired the young Powell and Pressburger.
Ian Christie (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger: Arrows of Desire)