Aging and Saging (24 minutes, color) American culture reveres youth, so there is little room today for the elderly, who are expected to drop out of public life so they will not remind the young of their own mortality. Earlier societies valued the extended family. When elders are excluded, society’s fiber is seriously weakened. This program takes viewers to a weekend Elder Circle at the Omega Institute, a large human potential center. A discussion is moderated by the influential and provocative author/teachers Rabbi Zalman Schacter-Shalomi and Ram Dass. As America’s aging population continues to grow, there is an urgent need to help the elderly redefine themselves as role models of healthy and graceful aging and to reincorporate them into society as a valuable resource. This powerful program is an excellent source of information for anyone trying to understand the cultural perspectives of aging. Purchase: $129.95 (VHS) or $154.95 (DVD), Rental: $75 (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
Alzheimer's: A Multicultural Perspective (34 minutes) This video visits four families -- Chinese, Japanese, Latino and Vietnamese -- as they discuss the cultural problems and dilemmas of caring for a relative with Alzheimer's Disease. Language barriers, cultural norms, lack of support and strict adherence to traditions are discussed as obstacles to providing care and receiving assistance in caregiving. Rental: $45. Purchase: $185. (Terra Nova Films)
Andre’s Lives (55 minutes, color) Reaching beyond conventional portrayals of the Holocaust’s legacy andre’s Lives explores the tension between the collective obligation to remember and the personal need to forget. The last surviving member of the secret and illegal Jewish “Working Group” in Slovakia andre Steiner helped save over 7000 Jews from deportation to Auschwitz (almost six times as many as Schindler). After testifying before a war-crimes tribunal against one Nazi andre emigrated to Atlanta, rebuilt his life, becoming a successful architect. But he chose never to look back, or share his story. The cost of his secret was his marriage, distance from his tow sons and a sacrifice of emotional connections. Now, at 89, he returns to Europe with his sons to grapple with traumatic memories for the first time. During the film he begins to forge new relationships with his sons and his past. His resistance to exploring his history unfolds on camera through a complex dynamic, as father and sons struggle to make sense of the present by wrestling with the past. Purchase: $275 Rental: $75 (First Run/Icarus Films)
The Ballad of Narayama (129 minutes, Japanese with English subtitles, may not be appropriate for more sensitive viewers) A century ago, inhabitants from a remote mountain village lived in constant fear of starvation. Their lives were cruel, horrible and, at best, hopeless. To survive, a number of ruthless laws were passed. One of the most brutal was taking the elderly to the distant peak of Narayama to die. Home Vision program. Phone: (800) 262-8600.
Beauty before Age: Growing Older in Gay Culture (22 minutes) This groundbreaking film explores the power of youth and beauty in the gay community. A diverse group of men, ages 19 to 77, navigate their fears of becoming old, undesirable and alone. The film critically examines the pressure to look young and attractive, the lack of positive older role models and the ways in which AIDS intensifies the fear and process of aging. This video offers a male perspective on a historically female issue and illuminates the larger societal obsession with physical appearance. Purchase: $185 (colleges and universities). Purchase: $79 (community groups, high schools, public libraries and professional associations). Rental: $65. Preview Only: $25. (New Day Films)
Bubbeh Lee and Me (35 minutes, color) What can a grandchild and grandparent discover through one another? When the filmmaker arrives in Florida to visit his feisty, 87-year-old Jewish grandmother and speaks with her heart to heart about love, death and his sexual orientation, their two worlds collide and the strength of their bond emerges. A spirited reflection on aging, identity, diversity and acceptance, this classic film examines the legacies passed through families and generations and proves that the journey of self-discovery can begin at any age. Purchase: $199 (for Colleges and Universities) OR $89 (for High Schools, Public Libraries and Community Groups) Rental: $75 (for all customers) (Films for the Humanities & Sciences) OR Rental: $75. Purchase: $199. Preview: $25 (Open Eye Pictures or New Day Films)
Cultural Considerations in Death and Dying (90 minutes) Death and dying is a complex and delicate area of practice for many healthcare professionals. This video explains the need for culturally sensitive intervention the meet the needs of clients. It presents a panel of experts from various areas in healthcare, who discuss diverse perspectives on heath and explain the nature of cultural sensitivity. Purchase: $259 (Insight Media)
Death and Dying (30 minutes) The experience of death and dying is complicated by cultural attitudes, age, severity of illness or injury and legal and ethical concerns. This program examines how these issues affect the decision to prolong life through the continuation of medical support. Purchase: $109. (Insight Media)
Death and Dying: The Final Chapter (30 minutes) The experience of death and dying is complicated by cultural attitudes, as well as by age, severity of illness or injury and legal and ethical concerns. This video examines how these issues affect the decision to prolong life through the continuation of medical support. It considers the hospice movement and discusses the importance of familial and social support networks in easing the pain of family members. Purchase: $139 (Insight Media)
Death, Dying, Bereavement and Widowhood (29 minutes) Offering sociocultural and multicultural perspectives on dying and bereavement, this video uses the work of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross to address the discussion of death. It traces the process of bereavement and considers the state of widowhood in men and women. Purchase: $139 (Insight Media), $89.95-VHS or DVD (Magna Systems)
Don’t Take My Sunshine Away (55 minutes) This is the third program in the National Film Board’s series on aging. In this film, producer Lyn Wright surveys health care programs for the elderly worldwide. She finds that in Great Britain and Scandinavia, there has been a particular success with programs supporting the elderly in their own homes. In those countries the culture is kinder to old people. Communities are more tolerant and caring and the elders are treated with dignity. In the United States, when there is home health care, it is not only a more humane way of caring for the elderly, but also much more economical than institutional care. Purchase: $295. Rental: $75. (Filmakers Library)
The Dying Person (30 minutes) This video introduces three women, each diagnosed with a different form of cancer, who handle their situations in distinct ways. It considers North American cultural perspectives on death, particularly regarding palliative care and how family relationships change under the pressure of the diagnosis. Purchase: $89 (Insight Media)
Elder Care: The Swedish Choice (1994, 57 minutes, color) As America analyzes its own public policy on elder care, this video provides an opportunity to see caregiving options that exist elsewhere. Sweden has a progressive approach to social issues and a high percentage of elderly in the population. Noted American gerontologists have studied the “Swedish Model” in the belief that, despite differences in our two societies, America can learn from the Swedish approach, which emphasizes independence, security and dignity in elder care. This video documentary profiles the options available for Swedish elderly and consists of material shot entirely in Sweden. Purchase: $195. Rental: $55. (Terra Nova films or Penn State Audio Visual Services) OR Purchase $189 (Insight Media)
Ethnic Diversity: Barrier or Benefit in Health Care of the Elderly? (120 minutes) As proportions of ethnic minorities within the aging population continue to grow, ethnic diversity has become an increasingly important health care issue. A panel of five nationally known professionals in gerontology (Joyce T. Berry, Fernando Torres-Gil, Spero Manson, Veronica Scott and Jennie Chin Hansen) discuss the implications of ethnic diversity related to health status, access to health care and effective outreach. The panelists share their unique insights into the cultural values and beliefs of older health care consumers who are members of different ethnic groups. Purchase: $149. Rental: $45. (Terra Nova Films) \
European Models of Assisted Living: Housing for Mentally and Physically Frail Older People (58 minutes) This video lecture by Victor Regnier chronicles significant building, housing and service concepts for older frail people in Northern Europe. Over 150 illustrations gathered from 100 site visits demonstrate specific ideas and solutions to housing and service problems. Purchase: $89. Rental: $35. (Terra Nova Films)
Facing Death (56 minutes, subtitled) For more than twenty years, Lars Westman has been filming his mother. The result is a unique record of life’s inevitable passage, as well as a tender portrait of an aging mother who lived to a ripe old age in her own home, until complications from a hip injury necessitated her move to a nursing home. When she succumbed to her final illness, her son was at her bedside to record her last breath. Their strong affection helps the film transcend grim reality. Purchase: $295. Rental: $75. (Filmakers Library)
For Better or for Worse (55 minutes) In this program, five culturally diverse couples, each together for at least 50 years, recount colorful stories of their shared journeys. They discuss such topics as conflict resolution, love and sex and death. Purchase: $199 (Insight Media)
Harvest of Age Series Each program in this series asks the question: How is the quality of one's elder years affected by the way in which a culture nurtures and supports its members as they grow old? The elders in three cultural communities --Native Indian, Italian and Daukhabor -- talk about their journey through life and discuss both the rewards and the problems of aging.
Something Left to do -- Elders of Sto:Lo Nation (24 minutes) Three native American Sto:Lo elders reflect on life and death and demonstrate through dance, prayer and preserving ancient sites how they fulfill their obligations as Indian elders to preserve the culture and link the generations.
My Memories are Here--Italian Elders (27 minutes) Past and present intertwine to define the lives of four Italian elders as they recall their weddings, music and hobbies and discuss what it is like to grow old.
Pulling Together--Community Doukhabor Elders (29 minutes) The personal and Emotional journeys of our Community Daukhabor elders from British Columbia's Kootenay Valley are set within their sect's on-going search for peace and bounded by their timeless music. Purchase: $135 per title; all three: $295. Rental: $45 per title; All three: $85. (Terra Nova Films)
Medicine at the Crossroads (60 minutes) This video explores three sharply differing approaches to end of life health care in three different societies; India, Ireland and Sun City, Arizona. A fascinating look at how societal and cultural mores shape the approach to health care and end of life issues. Purchase: $165. Rental: $55. (Terra Nova Films)
How to Live To Be 100 (52 minutes) People are living longer and healthier lives and centenarians are no longer a rarity. This film presents us with the latest research on the very old on the U.S., China and Denmark. James Vopel, a senior scientist at Duke University leads a team of scientists seeking to unravel the secrets of longevity. It has been observed that every decade, the number of centenarians doubles. Once people reach eighty, the mortality rate seemed to reach a plateau. In Denmark, where birth records are among the best in the world, over two hundred centenarians were studied. We meet Inge who lives independently at 102. Like many people who live to be her age, she has a cheerful disposition and takes pride in her appearance. In Bama, China, people are poor and life is strenuous, yet there is a remarkably high rate of longevity. There are presently more centenarians per capita than anywhere else in the world. People in Bama eat a small bean known as homa, which is cooked into a broth. All food is simmered in this broth rather than stir fried, so there is no fat in their diet. Through studying such factors as lifestyles, heredity and nutrition, the film provided insights into the elusive secrets of long life. Purchase: $350 Rental: $75 (Filmakers Library)
Legacy (30 minutes) Elders from several tribes, including Navajo, Sioux and Tohono O'odham speak about the federal government's long trail of broken promises to tribes. They explain how reservation elders have been affected and how they are triumphing despite the odds. This video shows several existing programs for elders and the difficulties faced in providing services for Indian elders. Purchase: $165. Rental: $55. (Terra Nova Films)
Liberty: 3 Stories about Life and Death (55 minutes) Liberty is a highly acclaimed educational documentary about a close circle of lesbian friends. The women in Liberty have been together for over thirty years; they’ve grown old together and now they face loss and death together. These extraordinary works interweave the stories of three close lesbian friends: Joyce Fulton (66), who dies over the course of two years from a brain tumor; Mary Bell Wilson (79) who faces up to her losing struggle with lymphoma; and Nan Golub (58), a New York City artist, very much alive. Liberty comes with a detailed discussion guide, designed to encourage viewers to see older women and older lesbians in a positive light. Liberty demystifies death, dispels misinformation about age and sexual orientation and reminds us that life is worth living. Purchase: $90. Rental: $75. (New Day Films)
Part One: Death to Life records the death of Joyce Fulton. In the opening scenes, we see her, wasted beyond speech, with a group of friends around her who are helping her out of this world. Moving backwards in time, we then observe the process of Joyce’s terminal brain cancer over the course of two years. In a sense, we see Joyce moving from sick to well, becoming the person she was on the day she celebrated retiring from teaching high school four years earlier.
Part Two: Life to Death is a reminiscence of Mary Bell Wilson, described by one of her friends as “a Katharine Hepburn type.” She is a long time friend of Joyce Fulton and Joyce reappears several times in Life to Death. Before Mary Bell dies she has high hopes of building a new home with her lover and partner of 25 years and of riding in Dykes on Bikes in the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade. At 79, with indefatigable courage, she faces up to her own losing struggle with lymphoma.
Part Three: Life is about Nan Golub, a close friend of both Joyce and Mary Bell. In New York, in winter, we see her living as an artist – a black-leather-jacketed, platinum-dyed city woman. In one sequence she sketches a family tree of the women we’ve met earlier and suddenly we have a more vivid idea of who they were and what they’ve meant to each other. Golub ties the three parts of the documentary together and reminds us that in spite of tragedy and death, life is worth living, even worth celebrating.
Living and Dying (30 minutes) This program focuses on the stages of adjustment to death as proposed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. It discusses the benefits for the surviving family of having a will or advanced directive and looks at how culture and religion profoundly influence how people cope with their own mortality and how their families grieve. The program also outlines the benefits of hospice care. Purchase: $129 – VHS (Insight Media)
Loose Ends: Aging and Losing Control (94 minutes) Here is a stark, unpretty, unretouched and deeply touching view inside an institution for the demented elderly. For two months, the film crew lived together with a group of patients who have lost different aspects and varying degrees of what we consider “normalcy.” The result is sometimes uncomfortably close as the film demands that the viewer confront his or her own fears of aging and losing control, accepting the five main characters on their own terms, expanding the sense of what is recognizably warm and human to encompass the often frightening world of these patients. In Dutch with English subtitles. Purchase: $89.95. (Films for the Humanities & Sciences)
Old Men (94 minutes, color) Old Men is an intimate ethnographic portrait of elderly men in China. The film looks at a small group of elderly men who gather everyday (and have for years) on the same quiet Beijing street. Referring to the retirees as Da ye, a Mandarin term of respect and endearment, Yang spent two years documenting their daily lives. The film is an expressive document about what occurs among men when their life’s work has ceased (and the world that they knew is changing around them). Although they no longer labor for their nation or for the Communist party the Da ye cannot escape the need for a daily pattern. As with many societies, a man in China is defined by what he does for a living—with that taken away he loses his purpose and identity. Through the details of their daily routine, we observe the physical and psychological aches that accompany old age and we witness the solace that can be found in tradition and companionship. Thoughtful and introspective, Old Men is a moving meditation on what it means to grow old in today’s China. Purchase: $275 Rental: $100 (First Run/Icarus Films)
Portraits of Age (29 minutes, color) Each month over one million people reach the age of 60; those over the age of 80 are the fastest-growing segment of the global population. Some of these people will require care and support, but many more will be able to retain their independence, pride and productivity. Shot on location around the world, this video comprises individual short stories of elderly people and the role they play in their respective societies: a fisherman in India, a grandmother in Uganda, an activist in Argentina, a dance teacher in Cambodia, a grandfather in Egypt and a volunteer in New York. Portraits of Age shows how active and productive the senior citizen is today. Purchase: $190 Rental: $50 (First Run/Icarus Films) OR Purchase $229 (Insight Media)
Social and Cultural Foundations (30 minutes) This video explores the social and cultural foundations of age prejudice, intergenerational conflicts and elder abuse, considering such potentially causal factors as economic stress and drug abuse. It provides numerous individual and group vignettes of counseling issues. Purchase: $149 (Insight Media)
Source of Strength (29 minutes) Ethnic heritage is a source of strength, activity and consolation. This video takes a sensitive look at four older individuals as they reflect on the meaning their Jewish ethnic and religious roots has for them in their later years. Purchase: $135. Rental: $45. (Terra Nova Films)
Uncle Chatzkel (52 minutes, color) Chatzkel Lemchen has lived through the Russian Revolution, two World Wars, a communist regime and the transitio of Lithuania from Soviet Republic to and independent state. During the Holocaust his parents and children, along with many fellow Jewish citizens, were killed by the Nazis and their Lithuanian supporters. He and his wife were sent to separate concentration camps in Germany. Chatzkel survived through his skills as a linguist and a lexicographer and his dictionaries helped preserve the Lithuanian language during the Soviet era. Still working at the age of 93, he is now regarded as a national treasure, providing a bridge between Lithuanian, Russian and Yiddish cultures. His success, however, belies his sometimes lonely existence. One of seven siblings, Chatzkel was the only member of his family to remain in Lithuania. Although he has received his country’s highest honors, his relatives half a world away were barely aware of him. When in Uncle Chatzkel they finally do meet, it is a deeply moving experience that raises questions about identity, connection and rediscovering family roots. Purchase: $275 Rental: $75 (First Run/Icarus Films)
What is Death? (30 minutes) Using case studies and personal stories, this video examines the nature of death. It presents a wide range of North American cultural perspectives and considers AIDS, death by violence, suicide and euthanasia. Purchase: $99 (Insight Media)
Whisper: The Women (10 minutes) Seven older women share individual stories and reflections of their lives, creating a non-traditional profile of growing older. This simple production, profiling older American women of various cultures, touches on common experiences as allows these women to speak in their own words. Purchase: $89. Rental: $45. (Terra Nova Films)
Yudie (20 minutes) A film about independence, aging and the immigrant experience. Purchase: $89. Rental: $30 (New Day Films)