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GROWING OLD GRACEFULLY

About

The Canadian population is aging. It is a demographic trend that can be neatly plotted in graphics, counted in statistics and measured. We are undoubtedly living longer. Statistics Canada recently put numbers to this fact, pointing out the number of people aged 100 or older increased 50 percent between 1996 and 2006, and is set to triple to more than 14 000 by 2031. Meanwhile, Canadians are having fewer babies, shifting the historical balance between the young and the old.

About this Playlist

Award-winning director, Carole Laganiere, brings us “The Moon and The Violin”, a charming and wacky portrait of senior citizens, all musicians, painters, writers and actors who live at the Chez-Nous des artistes in Montreal. A former cabaret dancer recalls how the “topless” put her out of work; a singer with a voice like Edith Piaf still gives shows for a faithful following; a lyrical soprano whose glory was long ago sings a heart-rending ballad by moonlight; a jazz musician who had to sell his instruments makes a comeback with borrowed drums and vibraphone; a witty writer with a philosophical turn of mind talks lucidly of life and death. They may no longer have careers, and the world of the hip and successful may have forgotten them, but they continue to dream, work, flirt and hold eccentric opinions. In between concerts, passionate Scrabble® tournaments, card games played with a large print deck, and a heartbreaking aria sung under a full moon by an opera diva who never really made it, they present tender, witty and wise insights about life. Filmmaker Carole Laganière is exceptionally skilled at relating to her subjects; she asks tough questions about success, failure or approaching death, but respect and pleasure infuse this film with a depth reminiscent of the ballads of Edith Piaf, and a touch of the whimsy of Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits.

In “Living Dangerously”, two seniors with major health problems, Phillip Rowley and Helen Beck, are prepared to risk their lives living alone at home rather than move into senior’s institutions. Both have suffered falls and required emergency crews to rescue them. Terrified relatives afraid they will eventually kill themselves, struggle to change their minds before a tragedy occurs.

In “Alzheimer’s: A Family’s Journey”, the filmmakers focuses on the emotional strains of a family living with Alzheimer's. The film explores the disease on a very personal level for the filmmakers. Through the lens of the camera, the experiences and struggles of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's are brought into focus.

In “Bunny and Leona”, John Kastner showcases two unforgettable elderly sisters, Bunny Drudge, 67 and Leona Mcleod, 72. Both find their lives torn apart after living together for almost 30 years when both abruptly move to different senior’s homes. The film follows them over a turbulent year as they grapple with the wrenching transition to the institutions and the shock of life apart, after being inseparable.

All of these docs are bittersweet portraits of the human condition, with its ups and downs, its laughter and its tears.

Additional Online Resources

Help The Aged Canada

Aging And The Law In Canada

Canadian Centre For Activity And Aging

Aging In Canada

Selected Films (4)
  1. Bunny and Leona Preview Thumbnail
    Bunny and Leona
    • Country:Canada
    • Year:2003
    » View Documentary
  2. Doc It! 2008- Alzheimers: A Family's Journey Preview Thumbnail
    Doc It! 2008- Alzheimers: A Family's Journey
    • Country:Canada
    • Year:2008
    » View Documentary
  3. Living Dangerously Preview Thumbnail
    Living Dangerously
    • Country:Canada
    • Year:2004
    » View Documentary
  4. The Moon and the Violin Preview Thumbnail
    The Moon and the Violin
    • Country:Canada
    • Year:2003
    » View Documentary

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