Film Blog 3

Ageism in Film #10 – What I’ve Learned

“My four and a half years at Age UK London have indeed gone by in the blink of an eye. McCartney claims that life does too. Ethel & Ernest, and many of the other films I’ve seen this year, showed me that he’s right. We’re all ageing. I’ll be 30 in just over a month. Turning 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90 feels like a lifetime away. But it’s only the blink of an eye. After all, just yesterday George and I chatted about the fact that we still think of 1998 as being ‘only the other year’!

Working for Age UK London has, genuinely, taught me that all of us have to fight for older people. ”

Over the last year Danny Elliott has been writing a blog series called Ageism in Film. In his final article he reflects on what he’s learned about film and the age sector.

Glastonbury

Age Allies – Glastonbury and the Perception of Ageing

“When you think of older people what is the image that springs to mind? Where did this image come from? On what is it based? Do you judge all older people from the perspective of that image?

From what I can see now, Glastonbury has changed almost beyond recognition. But then, how would I know? The notion that any music festival can be experienced remotely on TV is absurd. It would be superficial. Judging by appearance is always unsatisfactory as it can never tell the whole story.”

With the papers suggesting the best place to watch Glastonbury is from your sofa, Richard Norman asks if he’d feel out of place at the festival at his age and looks into the ways that society’s perception of older people is often shaped by appearance.

Age Allies – Tackling Age Discrimination

“I recently discovered that I am categorised as a “Second-wave Baby Boomer”. This (apparently) identifies my generation. I can’t say I’d ever really considered it before – after all age is just a number, right? Had I been born four years later it would have been “Generation X”, sixteen years earlier and I would be one of the “Silent Generation”.

Do these labels carry any weight? Is there a typical baby boomer? Surely within each age identifying category people are as diverse as in any other? How can there possibly be a typical older person?”

All very good questions which we hope to answer with our new Age Allies project – a brand new programme to help combat age discrimination across the capital. Project leader Richard Norman tells us more…

Harry Brown

Ageism in Film #8 – Harry Brown

“I first watched Harry Brown seven years ago. Before viewing it again this week my memory was of some form of horrific, vigilante buddy-movie starring Michael Caine and Filch from Harry Potter. Time had clearly faded the reality of what the film was about, if not the essence; though a ‘buddy-movie’ this is not!”

In the eighth edition of our monthly series on ageing in film, Danny Elliott discusses isolation and loss of community in the vigilante thriller Harry Brown.

Still Game

Ageism and Film #6 – Still Game

My favourite Christmas presents are films and TV series. So much so, that I reserve a free night in January or February for my viewing pleasure. The 2016 offerings included ‘The Beatles: Eight Days a Week’ (well worth watching) and ‘Supersonic’, which I’ve yet to get round to – a real musical theme for some reason.

On opening both of these, I was instantly delighted. Here were two documentaries I was looking forward to watching, and had been well aware of even before their release in cinemas.

I opened one more box set on Christmas Day, and was surprised to find I’d never heard of it: Still Game, A BBC Scotland comedy created by Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill. Here’s why it’s such a good watch…

Ageism in Film #5 – Nebraska

The plot itself is simple. Woodrow T. Grant (Bruce Dern) gets a letter that says he’s won $1,000,000 and decides to go and claim his prize. There are only a couple of problems. Firstly, he lives in Montana, and needs to get to Nebraska. The trip is about 800 miles, but he has had his drivers’ license revoked.

The second problem is that the letter is a scam.

Ageism in Film #3 – Up

I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like the film Up. Even I, as a curmudgeon who usually rejects my friends’ love of the bright and shiny world of Disney, had my heart melted by this movie.

Now, it must be said, I’m not entirely sure why Up manages to strike a chord while so many other animated films fall flat. At a guess, it’s a mix of simple – yet effective – storytelling, vibrant visuals, and a script that manages to elicit laughs from viewers of all ages. Which is no mean feat.

Ageism in Film #1 – The Lady in the Van

Welcome to the first edition of our new monthly series on ageism in film. This week Danny Elliott subjects The Lady in the Van to Peter Bradshaw’s Bechdel Test for Ageism. Although Peter Bradshaw points out that older women are the social group that find it hardest to come by major roles,  the first film I’m going to look at stars, and is dominated by, Dame Maggie Smith. The 81 year old played Miss Shepherd in ‘The Lady in the Van’, 16 years after she first performed the role on stage in Alan Bennett’s play of the same name. Maggie Smith is a […]