A circus wagon and a shipping container serve as stonemason Michael Spengler’s workshop. It is here that he receives people in mourning. Together they design headstones that tell of the deceased.
Mr. and Mrs. Neustadt have lost their two-year-old son. Through their dialogue with Michael they find the words to express their emotions, words that become form and substance—their child’s breath is to be represented in a fragile limestone. Hardburg Stolle is a woman of few words, through Michael’s guidance she dauntlessly swings the hammer that splits a boulder and feels a sense of strength that had been long buried. The Jacob family searches for the essence of their grandfather’s life: lover of nature, bon vivant, patriarch. What should an object that encapsulates him look like? Michael approaches the material and the people with great sensitivity and accompanies each family on a process that often takes months, one decision at a time.
The film tells the story of this difficult and intimate process and shows how working on the stone makes death concrete in the truest sense of the word. As the stone takes on its form, the families discover a new relationship with the deceased—and to life.