Friday, October 3, 2008


I just watched this lovely movie Young@Heart. It is a deeply touching documentary about a senior citizen's chorus that performs rock, punk, soul -all sorts of songs. I couldn't believe some of the selections: I Wanna Be Sedated by the Ramones, the Talking Heads' Road to Nowhere and wildly enough, Schizophrenia by Sonic Youth.

It was a brilliant commentary on life, age, and death. A sprightly 92 year-old woman talks about how important it is to keep your brain engaged; an 85 year old man with major spine problems says that when he sings he forgets completely about the pains in his body.

One of the scenes that took my breath away was a performance they did for the men at the local jail the same day that one of their chorus members passed away. Framed by razor wire, they sing Bob Dylan's Forever Young and dedicate it to their lost friend. For the final verse they stretch their arms like they're flying and the camera pans around to the men watching them intently, sadly. On the final note the men all leap to their feet clapping and whistling. One of the younger men says to a member of the chorus "that was the best performance I have ever seen," and a corrections officer hugs one of the women tight saying "you've touched my heart forever." That was only one of the times I wept at the beauty of this film.

Here's a clip from the final performance. It was supposed to be a duet but the other man passed away- its his family you see crying in the audience. It's the beautiful song Fix You by Coldplay. Earlier in the film you see this man practicing it while watching the actual video on his computer at home- which is why his wife in the audience knows the words. The metronome of his oxygen tank is hypnotizing.

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