Still Loved ****Dir: Debbie Howard. Documentary with: Lou Evans, Juliette Gaunt, Matt Gaunt, Beth Morris. 77 mins. Cert: 12A
Released to coincide with Baby Loss Awareness Month, Debbie Howard’s documentary hears out bereaved parents across the North Midlands, talking with remarkable candour about their experiences of stillbirth. If the early crosscutting elides some of each case’s specificity, it succeeds in describing a more general arc, from horror and numbness to acceptance and a resolution to move forwards – either by trying to conceive again or investing creative energies in alternative projects. The process confronts us with undeniably tough material: the snapshots of the deceased sting as much as the pans across the box-fresh bibs and bootees bought in excited anticipation of the big day. (The whole film is a fleshing-out of the six-word story typically attributed to Hemingway.) Yet you can only be struck by the resilience the interviewees display, and the trust they place in Howard – a trust repaid several times over by a work of commemoration that will also surely provide considerable consolation.
Still Loved tours selected cinemas from today.