For the Living and the Dead (dir Kari Paljakka 2004) won the Sutherland Trophy during the London Film Festival.
Sarah Lutton writes: Almost 20 years ago director Kari Paljakka saw a television interview with a couple who had recently lost their youngest son in a domestic accident. He was deeply affected by the candid and coherent description of their experiences following their tragedy. The idea stayed with him to explore notions of loss and the passage of grief based on the couple's story within the imagined world of a feature film. Far from being mawkish, Paljakka has created in For the Living and the Dead a very well-observed, sympathetic, sometimes humorous and ultimately hopeful family portrait. Like other films that have dealt with similar themes such as Aftermath (Screened in the Festival in 2004), For the Living and the Dead is very much about recuperation, the strength of the human spirit and, most importantly, life. That is not to deny that Paljakka doesn't deal with deep and painful emotions here. He certainly creates a quiet but profound sense of pain, which is at times magnified by the surprising and troubling shortcomings of friends and neighbours. However, it is Paljakka's empathy and respect for his characters which shines out in this truly human, cathartic and essentially optimistic film.