The opening moments of the new documentary Lost Sparrow shows grainy footage of three-decade-old images of a large, multi-ethnic family. The seemingly happy clan poses for a group photo. But the clip ends suddenly, with the flickering white screen fading to black.
The darkness is replaced by video from the present. It is a recent cloudy day at, of all places, a cemetery in Manheim, N.Y. There, the camera pans past American flags flapping in the wind before it zooms in on a bulldozer tearing into a gravesite’s soil. Two coffins are excavated, boxed up, and loaded onto the back of a U-Haul truck.