Saturday, September 18, 2010

Young at Heart

This wonderful group of seniors from Northampton, Massachusetts, is a sings their version of rock. The average age of the group members is 80. And they ROCK!

A documentary was made about them several years ago -- they are still going strong, although members tend to die and be replaced. The film is also called Young at Heart and is available on DVD. It's a great feel-good hour and a half. The music and the people are really wonderful, unsentimental, hard working, sometimes funny. The musical director, younger probably in his 50, is remarkable for his patience and dedicationd and pure joy that is seen in performance. Music keeps people young! Definitely.

I don't like to be a grump but I feel the much younger film director did several egregious artsy bits, really just to show off his inventiveness which I did not like. If he had really cared about showing in his film how vital older adults can be and what music can mean even to people who are literally dying [two people did die in the course of the filming], he should have cut out the fancy cinematography that added little to the film and concentrated on the people. Only a hand full of people were spotlighted, but many others in the chorus surely have important stories as well even if they were not the lead singers. I wanted the film to be entirely about these remarkable people and not about the director's fancy ideas [like hot air balloons, and carousels] which really didn't fit into what little story line there was.

They'll be singing just a few blocks away in a couple of weeks. I will not go. I'm a classicist. I may bounce along with the rhythms, but the music itself doesn't speak to me. Perhaps that is my loss. That is how I relate to music. I would like to relate to film on a more satisfied level -- I don't believe the younger film makers truly had anything to say about these older people except that they sing rock their way and it's fun to listen to and audiences love it. I don't believe the film had a message about the importance of music and of involvement, of personal challenge to people who are older. Those are al important themes. When will the younger become mature at heart?

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