Amour (2012) – Away From Her (2006) – Still Mine (2012)
Venus (2006) – Iris (2001) – Quartet (2013)
The best foreign movie of the year, according to the 2012 Oscar Awards was Amour, a French film about a married couple facing the indignities of old age. Are you surprised?
In Jay Stone’s article about ‘cinema’s best on the perils of dementia and seduction’s last chance” (Vancouver Sun, “Aging not so gracefully”, August 10, 2013), he lists his “five best growing-old flicks of the 2000s”: Amour (2012), Away From Her (2006), Still Mine (2012), Venus (2006), “Iris” (2001) and also Quartet (2013). My curiosity has led me to see all of these movies available at Black Dog Video on Cambie Street and Limelight Video on Alma Street.
The topic of dementia and all it ramifications is treated in exquisite detail in most of the films, usually it is the wife who suffers from Alzheimer’s, and the (mostly) loving husband who struggles to cope with the steady deterioration of his spouse. Quartet is a “comedy” which takes place in the most beautiful senior residence with the most talented and charming people! They carry on, notwithstanding memory losses or changes in personality.
Amour deals with the wife’s stroke and the physical indignities she has to suffer as her husband cares for her. Venus shows us a couple of 80-year olds whose regular routine changes when an attractive niece comes to visit.
All of these movies represent an opportunity to experience and learn from the characters and their stories. The acting is superb; we become emotionally involved with the drama as the toll of dementia and old age claim their victims. Yet, they are not depressing movies. The intense power of love and devotion, of forgiveness, and of humour, work their magic; instead of fear and ignorance, we have a sense of being enlightened by these powerful dramas.