The Second Death
In Jewish tradition, they say that a person dies twice. The first death comes when the heart stops beating, the second when the name of the dead is uttered for the last time.
A woman stands before a family grave on All Saints’ Eve. She is the only descendant of her father’s family of seven brothers and sisters. Those buried in the grave are about to sink into oblivion. Only she, the only living descendant, can keep the memory of the dead alive for a short while yet.
The Second Death takes place in a time when two world wars, labour shortage and economic crisis shaped living conditions. Anchoring her story in papers left behind by the dead, photo albums and memories, Kjersti Ericsson conjures up nine lives: the lives of her own grandparents, as well as of each of their seven children. It is a story of tuberculosis and early death, about hubris and decline, and about pain transmitted from one generation to the next. At heart it is also a story about memory and forgetting, about grief over everything that disappears, and about the dream of giving ordinary lives the permanence of eternity.