"All would live long, but none would be old."
- Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790
The Film Catalog
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Afloat (5 min.)From the vantage point of a swimming pool, this lyrical film travels underwater and above water to create a gentle meditation on growing old, remembering youth, and living life.
A Day with Francisco (6 min.)Retirement didn't suit Francisco Cardoza, so he decided to go back to work. The customers and employees at one Manhattan pharmacy are glad he did.
An Ordinary Life (27 min.)[View Trailer]
This moving documentary is an intimate portrait of life and death through the eyes of 82-year-old Dot Fisher-Smith, an extraordinary woman, artist, activist, jailbird, great-grandmother. Her life is a message about how to live: with love and outrageous action.
Sales: Universities, $125; Community groups, libraries, $85. Home sales, $20.
Beautifully Esther (23 min.)[View Trailer]
Esther and Joszi live a quiet, sheltered life. Their stagnant daily routine comes to an end when Esther learns her husband was hiding a secret. Despite Joszi's refusal to change, Esther must decide how she wants to spend the rest of her days. A charming fictional story.
Sales: Universities, $150. Community groups and libraries, $80. Home use: $25.
Beauty before Age: Growing Older in Gay Culture (22 min.)[View Trailer]
A rare male perspective on society's obsession with physical appearance, the film critically examines the power of youth, beauty and the fear of aging in the gay male community.
Bella Bella (26 min.)[View Trailer]
The latest chapter in major Bay Area sculptor Bella Feldman's life, it provides inspiration for anyone who thinks reaching 70 marks the time to pack it in. With creativity and verve, Feldman overcomes the challenges of widowhood, a life-threatening heart problem, and a new trans-Atlantic love affair. Much of her sculptural work has been in response to the series of wars and violence throughout her lifetime.
Close Harmony (30 min.)An Academy Award-winning documentary about a senior citizen chorus and an elementary school chorus who practice for a combined concert, and in the process, dissolve many stereotypes about each other, and form an important bond that results in a memorable performance.
The Collector of Bedford Street (40 min.)An Academy-Award-nominated short documentary that depicts a 60-year-old community activist and fundraiser with developmental disabilities, who raises thousands of dollars for charity every year, while he lives at the poverty level. Because of Larry's 20 years of service to his neighborhood, the community created a supplemental-need adult trust fund for him. The film humanizes the story behind the abstract statistics of mental retardation, revealing how a community builds tolerance and understanding.
Elsa and Fred (108 min.)[View Trailer]
Retired 77-year-old hypochondriac widower, Fred, moves to an apartment in Madrid, and eventually meets his next door neighbor, Elsa, an elderly and feisty Argentinean, whose behavior is unorthodox, to say the least. Nevertheless, after some rocky fits and starts, Fred is seduced by Elsa's outrageous behavior and upbeat view of life. Poignant and funny, with brilliant acting. In Spanish, with English subtitles.
Rental: $100. (Exhibition quality)
Fabulous Fashionistas (47 min.)[View Trailer]
Award-winning director Sue Bourne explores the art of aging through the company of six extraordinary, stylish women. With an average age of 80, they are determined to ‘squeeze the pips’ out of life. Their inspiring stories illuminate an attitude to life itself, redefining old age in style: to keep going, to look fabulous, and to have fun.
Rental: $70; home use only: $35.
Full Circle (26 min.)[View Trailer]
A short documentary about Carrie, a middle-aged daughter and filmmaker, trying to make sure that her mother, Natalie, ends life with serenity and dignity, and in accordance with her wishes. The process is complicated by legal medical requirements, and yet the film gives insight into one family's attempt to live out a positive experience of death in the family.
Grasping the Bird's Tail (12'20") • Recent Addition[View Trailer]
Herb’s Tai Chi class is different. Some students have physical challenges, but all are guided toward their own goals by the gentle force of this unconventional teacher. Directed by Patricia Somers.
Ida's Dance Club (60 min.)[View Trailer]
A ballroom dancing competition in a retirement community in Israel is the setting for this moving documentary portrait of individuals dancing against all odds. The participants are past retirement age, but that doesn't stop them from dancing and singing, from falling in love — or not. The magical atmosphere of the club and the dancing gives them the strength to overcome the wear and tear of time, health problems and difficult memories. Directed by Dalit Kimor. In Hebrew, with English subtitles.
Irene Williams, Queen of Lincoln Road (23 min.)An amusing short film about Irene Williams, who lived and worked on Lincoln Road, in Miami Beach. For over 40 years, she stopped onlookers in their tracks with her colorful outfits. Filmmaker Eric Smith documented the woman and her amazing wardrobe, and more importantly, their deep affection for each other.
Let's Face It: Women Explore Their Aging Faces (26 min.)Seven women, 48 to 63 speak openly, honestly, and with wry humor on the reality of the sags and bags, wrinkles and lines that show up on their faces. As they consider getting face-lifts or aging naturally, they discover deep ambivalence, anxiety and, for some, acceptance of aging.
Life Model (10 min.)[View Trailer]
A poetic look into the world of an aging nude figure model and the beautiful artwork she inspires. Directed by Lori Petchers.
Sales: Universities, $100; Community groups, libraries, $75.
Mr. Reubens Goes to Mars (15 min.)A story of a withdrawn older man, who becomes the unlikely hit of a downtown swing dance club. Later, his new-found zest for life starts to fade away and is rekindled by the most unlikely source.
My Father's Hopes (4 min.)A poetic and moving short documentary about the filmmaker's father, who studied art as a young man, but was diverted into the business world by family responsibilities. After his wife's death, he faced a profound crisis, which eventually resulted in a remarkable old age.
My Mother Dreams the Satan's Disciples in New York (30 min.)A comic fictional story about Marian, recently widowed, who travels from the Midwest to NYC to visit her daughter, who lives on a grubby Manhattan street across from the Satan's Disciples, a motorcycle gang. Interesting adventures transpire. An Academy-Award-winning short. (Brief swearing).
Old Woman Poem (5 min.)Narrated by a woman over 100 years old, this narrative recounts a woman's significant life events from childhood to the present. She urges viewers to look beyond her aging exterior and see the person inside. The overall message is a proud tribute to the vibrancy and agelessness of the human spirit.
Packing for Two (13 min.)A fictional film that addresses the situation of what it means to be alone after constant companionship and fifty-odd years of marriage. It is also about the decision to choose life instead of martyrdom, to strive for enjoyment rather than just survival.
The Personals (37 min.)The Personals follows a group of senior citizens as they rehearse and present an original play about looking for dates through the personal ads, at a theater on NYC's Lower East Side. The film explores both the joys and sorrows of growing old in America. An extraordinary look at the emotional lives of elderly Americans. Academy-Award winning short.
The Sandwich Generation (28 min.)[View Trailer]
The term, the Sandwich Generation, means those caring for aging parents as well as young children, and includes more than 20 million Americans. In this emotionally charged account of family caregiving, filmmaker Julie Winokur and her husband, photojournalist Ed Kashi, expose their personal lives with unflinching candor. When Julie's father, Herbie, who suffers from dementia and can no longer live alone, the family moves cross-country to care for him. An inspiring story of love, family dynamics and the sacrifices of those caught in the middle.
Seniors Rocking (28 min.)[View Trailer]
A delightful documentary that unveils the artistic process and captures the communal energy behind the unique performance created by American dance pioneer Anna Halprin with senior citizens from the Redwoods Community of Seniors in Marin County, CA.
Rental: $50; home use only: $25; Univ sales: $125; Community groups, libraries sales: $85.
Slomo (16') • Recent Addition[View Trailer]
Depressed and frustrated with his life, Dr. John Kitchin abandons his career as a neurologist and undergoes a radical transformation into SLOMO, trading his lab coat for a pair of rollerblades and his IRA for a taste of divinity. Directed by Joshua Izenberg.
Smitten (27 min.)A documentary about Rene di Rosa, who is ‘smitten' by art, as well as the pure joy of discovery. He has the world's largest and most notable collection of Northern California art, which is colorful, figurative, humorous, rebellious, political, and radical.
Stepping into the Stream (30 min.) • Recent Addition[View Trailer]
An ode to fly fishing. Filmed on many of California's rivers, women fly fishers reflect on rivers, nature, life, and each other throughtheir favorite sport. For some, casting is a good exercise for recovery from breast cancer.
Rental: $50; Community groups, $80; Colleges/universities: $125.
Tears of Men (8 min.) • Recent Addition[View Trailer]
A group of men come together to confront the stigma of men crying. Directed by Anna Moot-Levin & Sara Mott.
Sales: Universities, $100; Community groups, libraries, $75.
Trishaw (15 min.)When Singapore trishaw driver Ah Heng's vehicle is damaged, there is no one to repair it for him; as a result, he loses his regular customer. Ah Heng is forced to wonder if he is indeed fighting a losing battle against modernism. In Chinese, with English subtitles.
Tsipa and Volf (20 min.)This short film captures the tragicomic nature of a 50-year relationship based on survival and commitment. Two elderly Jewish émigrés from Latvia, who were living in San Francisco (but are now deceased), reminisce about a rich community lost to the horrors of World War II. Tsipa's and Volf's candid interviews with their grandson Daniel explore the fragile nature of memory, and the strength of their commitment and devotion to one another.
Tulip (14 min.)An Australian film by renowned actress Rachel Griffiths, is based on a real story told in Griffith's family, of her grandparents' generation. A man readjusts to life alone after 45 years of marriage. He also has to solve the problem of the family cow, Tulip, which refuses to allow itself to be milked.
Useless (14 min.)A fictional, yet very real story, of a Japanese-American businessman, long past his job prime, who reluctantly comes to terms with his retirement.
Why? (12 min.)An animated explanation by the filmmaker about why she went to art school at middle-age leads to an amusing, and amazing autobiographical discourse.
The Yard People: An Intergenerational Love Story (29 min.)A documentary about a group of African American couples who came together in Buffalo, New York during the 1940s. Now in their 70s, 80s and 90s, they remain friends today due to their celebrations of intergenerational love that they have ritualized in the form of ‘yard parties’ and community activism.
Young at Heart (30 min.)[View Trailer]
An Academy-Award winning delightful documentary portraying a romance between two vibrant personalities in their 80s and their zest for livng, plus the reactions of their children and grandchildren.
© 2006- Legacy Film Series
Photo Credits: Let's Face It: Wendy Oser, Joan Levinson, Beverly Spencer Afloat: Erin Hudson Old Woman: Sandra Martin Productions