Skip to Content
Secrets of Life and Death: The Heart of Grieving cover photo

Secrets of Life and Death: The Heart of Grieving 2010


Distributed by Distributed by On the Edge Productions, 217 Ramona Ave., El Cerrito, CA 94530; 510-524-1227
Produced by Produced by Michelle Peticolas
Directed by Directed by Michelle Peticolas
DVD, color, 88 min.

Jr. High - General Adult
Japan, Popular Culture, Music Trade, Singers

Date Entered: 09/08/2011

ALA Notable:
Reviewed by: Reviewed by Gerald Notaro, University Librarian, Nelson Poynter Memorial Library, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

A personal loss of her parents motivated filmmaker Michelle Peticolas to produce a series of three films, The Secrets of Life and Death, of which this DVD is the last. Reactions to death and the ways one grieves are deeply personal and varied. In addition to speaking of her parents’ deaths, the film shares the stories of four individuals and their intimate and unique experiences with death. The background to their narratives on film shows scenes from the San Francisco’s Day of the Dead procession. In addition to the interviews, the documentary uses family photographs and home movie footage as the individuals describe how they have handled their loss. The DVD includes useful a companion study guide, and a Native American folktale on death. Though emotional and sincere in conveying loneliness and healing, the appeal of The Heart of Grieving is limited to collections specializing in death and dying.