As part of the Bealtaine Festival, the second ‘Reel Lives Film Festival’ will take place from 20-24 May. Organised by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, the festival will feature free lunchtime screenings of films celebrating ageing across the lifecourse.
Alison Herbert, event organiser and PhD student with NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Social Gerontology said: “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.”
A main film and an Irish short film or documentary will be screened daily with each main film centre on different aspects 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.
Award-winning films shown will include: Cocoon; All That Heaven Allows; Another Year; His and Hers; and Away From Her. Short films will include: Ken Wardrop’s Undressing My Mother, and The Herd; Wednesdays; Passing; and When We Were Young One Day.
The multi-award winning opening-film His and Hers 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 stars Brian Dennehy, Don Ameche, and Jessica Tandy. Directed in 1985 by Ron Howard, 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 is a renowned Douglas Sirk film from 1955, which examines the restricting social mores of mid-20th century America. Starring Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson, the film exposes the ageism that dictates acceptable behaviour. Wyman is a middle-class widow with adult children, who falls for her younger gardener. Scandal ensues amongst her country club peers.
Away From Her 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. 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 from 2010 which looks at four seasons in the lives of married couple Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen. Like all Mike Leigh films, Another Year takes a forensic look at the minutiae of everyday life, revealing the nature of human relationships.
The lunchtime screenings are open to the public and will begin each day at 1pm in IT125G, IT Building, NUI Galway. Each film will be followed by a short audience discussion and refreshments.
Films are sponsored by NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film and Digital Media; Screenclick; The Galway Film Centre; Venom; and Liam Bluett. The Reel Lives poster was designed by NUI Galway artist Marina Wild. Refreshments are courtesy of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union Shop and spot prizes are sponsored by NUI Galway’s Kingfisher Sports Centre and Masterchefs Hospitality.
Details of films being shown and dates of screenings visit www.icsg.ie. For more information contact 091 495461 or 087 2830757.