The second ‘Reel Lives Film Festival’, organised by The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (www.icsg.ie) at NUI Galway, is offering free lunchtime screenings of films celebrating ageing across the lifecourse from 20-24th May as part of the Bealtaine Festival.
ICSG PhD student and event organiser, Alison Herbert, states: “We age from the day we are born, so to celebrate ageing is to celebrate life itself. Ageing is not just old age; ageing is a part of and relevant to all of us, and film is an ideal genre to get the message across that ageing is to be celebrated.”
Each main film deals with a different aspect of ageing, from the lived experiences of women; the yearning for youth; Alzheimer’s; being single in older years; and ageism.
The short films and documentaries deal with losing one’s partner in
older years; trying to re-capture youthful feelings; and the lived experiences of those in a Galway nursing home.
A main film and an Irish short film or documentary will be screened each day. Award-winning films to be screened include: Cocoon (USA, 117 mins); All That Heaven Allows (USA, 89 mins); Another Year (UK, 129 mins); His and Hers (Ireland, 83 mins); and Away From Her (Canada, 110 mins).
Shorts include: Ken Wardrop’s Undressing My Mother, and The Herd; Wednesdays (with Doreen and Des Keogh); Passing (with Mick Lally); and When We Were Young One Day.
The multi-award winning opening-film (20th) His and Hers (Ireland) scored at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, and picked up awards in London, Dublin, and Galway along the way. A 2009 documentary by Ken Wardrop, His and Hers focuses on the lives of around 70 women from the Irish Midlands. Wardrop interviews women about their relationships with the men in their lives: fathers, boyfriends, husbands, and sons, offering a somewhat quaint peek into a largely rural world.
Cocoon (21st) stars Brian Dennehy, Don Ameche, and Jessica Tandy. Directed (1985) by Ron Howard (of TV Happy Days), this is the highly-watchable story of senior citizens in a retirement home meeting aliens in a humorous film that focuses on the consequences of searching for the elixir of youth. So successful was Cocoon that it spawned a sequel Cocoon The Return.
All That Heaven Allows (22nd) is a renowned Douglas Sirk film from 1955, which examines the restricting social mores of mid-20thcentury America. Starring Jane Wyman (once married to President Ronald Regan) and screen hero Rock Hudson, the film exposes the ageism that dictates acceptable behaviour. Wyman is excellent as a middle-class widow with adult children, who falls for her younger gardener. Scandal ensues amongst her country club peers.
Away From Her (23rd) deals with the topic of Alzheimer’s disease, but from a quite different angle. Julie Christie takes the lead in this 2006 film, directed by Sarah Polley, and adapted from the Alice Munro short story The Bear Came Over the Mountain. The beautiful Christie leaves her husband to admit herself into a nursing home specialising in the care of Alzheimer’s patients. The unusual perspective comes from Christie’s transference of affection from her husband to that of a wheelchair-bound mute in the nursing home. Her husband watches as he loses his wife to both Alzheimer’s and to another man.
Another Year is a British comedy/drama of 2010 that looks at four seasons in the lives of happily married couple Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen. Like all Mike Leigh films, Another Year (24th) takes a forensic look at the minutiae of everyday life, revealing the nature of human relationships. Lesley Manville is especially good as the youthful, never-married friend who sees her options closing down as she ages.
The lunchtime screenings, open to everyone, begin each day at 1 pm in lecture theatre IT125G, of the IT Building. Each film will be followed by a short audience discussion.
Complimentary fruit juices and confectionary are available for audience members to enjoy, courtesy of the Students’ Union Shop, NUIG.
Parking is available on campus to non-NUI Galway personnel within pay and display areas. The screening venue has all facilities available to hand; including cafés, restrooms, and a lift is available to the lecture theatre for easy access. The lecture theatre is wheelchair friendly.
Films are sponsored by Screenclick; The Galway Film Centre; The Huston School of Film and Digital Media, NUIG; Venom; and Liam Bluett. Reel Lives poster designed by artist Marina Wild, NUIG.
Details of films and dates of screenings on the ICSG website (www.icsg.ie).
Further information is available from 091-495461 / 087-2830757.