Inga opens and ends with two major entries (Kapitels or “chapters”) she writes in her journal. The first and briefer is “Love.” In her poetic vocal narrative, she offers her views of love’s evolving meanings and changing phases across the life span.
No Time to Waste introduces us to 95-year-old African American Betty Soskin, a woman who has lived through sharply dissonant epochs of racism in the United States. From birth through adulthood, she experienced the manifest race discrimination prevalent in the United States during a significant portion of the twentieth century.
The one other film that deals authentically with late life marital intimacy is Innocence, produced and directed by Australian filmmaker Paul Cox in 2000. Like Hope Springs, Innocence addresses the issue of lifelessness and resignation in the relationship of an older couple.
Exercise: It Is Never Too Late is the video equivalent of an energy drink, designed to perk up older sedentary viewers benumbed by myths of age-related activity. Elayne Letraunik introduces a litany of false beliefs at the outset of the film, fictions “that trick us into allowing inactivity to sneak into our lives.”
Good things come in small packages—and brief ones as well. Though a short film, Lolly Font: Yoga Rebel has strong relevance for gerontological theorists, researchers, and educators, particularly those interested in the evolving meanings of successful aging. Director Liz Cane introduces us to 84-year-old Lolly Font, a yoga teacher nearing the end of her instructional career.
Fear of Falling opens with scenes of common possible hazards in the everyday environments of older adults, including stairs, escalators, carpets and rugs, sidewalks in disrepair, and bathtubs with slippery surfaces. The film’s major premise is expressed in Rooseveltian terms by host Elayne Letraunik: “Sometimes the fear can be just as dangerous as the thing that we’re afraid of.”
An adult developmentalist recently told me that the main reason he enjoyed studying older adults is because “their bodies contain so many interesting variables” that are easily extracted with quantitative measures. To be sure, variable-oriented developmental science has contributed significantly to our understanding of the aging process.
Videographer Jacob Bricca created Finding Tatanka to gain greater understanding of his father, Kit Bricca. He hoped to fill in blank spots that have remained in their relationship across the years and, hopefully, to reach a resolution that might enrich it. The result is a video case study of this father–son relationship and more largely, of a visionary known over the years as Kit, Chris Cougar, Buffalo, Buffalo Waves in the Breeze, and Tatanka .
At the outset of The Age of Love , an elderly man shows videographer Steven Loring a snapshot of his wife and himself taken at night: “We were right in the woods and it was great. We could sit in the creek with a case of beer in the water. You love each other and you have a good time, no matter what you do—whether it’s drinking or walking or sitting at the fire at night.
I Remember Better When I Paint is perhaps the most important documentary to date dealing with our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the nearly 47 million persons worldwide currently afflicted with dementia. It should be required viewing of every gerontology educator and practitioner, regardless of years in rank.
Coming of Age in Aging America is perhaps the most important film to emerge to date within The New Gerontology paradigm. In contrast to the historically dour 4-D perspective on aging (decline, deterioration, dependency, depression), it is refreshingly optimistic and celebratory.
Cyber Seniors documents an important program that illustrates the combined efforts of younger and older adults to bridge the “digital divide.” In a light-hearted and humorous fashion, the film introduces us to an intergenerational program designed to increase internet and social media use among elders who continue to observe computer technology from afar.