Am I Exhausted From the Campaign Because I'm Old?
Reporting From the Country of Old Age

An Elder's Life – A Little Masterpiece of a Movie

There is a burgeoning industry of media about being old. The past few years have seen an increase in the number of movies - theatrical and TV - starring old people, a large amount of the daily health reporting is related to old age issues and there are hundreds of new books each year about old people.

Most of this explosion in age media is dreck. Trust me. I wade through way too much of it for this blog. But maybe that is what makes it so thrilling when a gem comes along.

Last week, The New Yorker released online the latest short film in its Screening Room series titled “Mend and Make Do.” In the magazine's discussion of it, reporter Sarah Larson explains that in the opening,

”...we see images of a real-life living room—old framed photographs, doilies, sewing baskets, a lace-covered window, a spoon stirring sugar into a cup of tea—and hear the voice of an elderly woman with a vigorous Merseyside accent.

“'There is no embarrassment! Nothing like that today, about asking a man to go to bed with you, or get in the hot tub with you,” she says. “It wasn’t done when I was young.' As she remembers the past, objects in the room come to life.”

Well, I was hooked.

It is an eight-minute biographical documentary about 87-year-old Lyn Schofield who relates episodes from her life as the stop-motion animation illustrates them. The 25-year-old filmmaker, Bexie Bush, is as compelling as her film:

”...her main influence was working at Betty’s, a hairdressing salon that her grandmother opened in the fifties. 'All the ladies are still going there now, so it’s quite a sweet place to work,' she said.

“She listened to their stories while shampooing, brushing up, making tea, cleaning the windows, mopping the floor. It was very much a Cinderella job...

“Bush’s grandmother died several years ago, and her aunt now runs Betty’s. 'That generation of women is changing, too,' Bush said. We’re seeing the last of the era of 'blue rinses and perms and hair in rollers.'

“Bush admires not just the people but the aesthetic; she wants to capture them as they are while they’re here. 'I kind of dress like them as well,' she said. 'I do my hair like them. Victory rolls, and I sleep in rollers. I love everything about it. Making the most of what you’ve got. Making your own clothes.'”

Before I introduce “Mend and Make Do,” take a look at this delightful two-minute animation that Ms. Bush made about Betty's hair salon four years ago. That's four years ago- when she was 21.

Bexie Bush's films are such unique charmers that I couldn't resist tracking down more information about what she is like. Here is a short interview with her last April when she was showing “Mend and Make Do” at the European Independent Film Festival:

Finally, without further ado, here is “Mend and Make Do.” I'm pretty sure you're going to be as enchanted as I am.

TGB reader, Tom Delmore, brought this film to my attention. You can read more about it at The New Yorker and more about Bexie Bush and her work at her website.

Comments

Loved these little films!

Thank you for this one, Ronni. This is a keeper.

How charming and what an imaginative presentation by Ms Bush. Thank you!

I'm not much of a movie-goer, and I saw a film on TV last night that had been released in 1982 - seemingly without my knowledge. It was The Verdict - with Paul Newman. I particularly enjoyed that, without ado, it featured so many "older" actors - such as Jack Warden and James Mason. That aspect of the film would have suffered had the lead character been played by Robert Redford as the film makers had originally intended. Fortunately Mr Redford had turned down the part.

What a lovely little film, thank you Ronni. I also enjoyed the interviews at the end, one with 87 year-old Lyn Schofield. Bexie Bush is to be congratulated on such original and creative work.

Amazing that such a "youngster" as Bexie Bush could capture the sentiment of the character in this film. She is old beyond her years to be able to do this. It seems to me most of the younger generation is not into our generation's history. Could it be that it is too simple and pure for them to relate to?

I loved it!

Absolutely delightful. But you should have advised us to get a hanky for the tears!

Simply wonderful! Thank you..

What a beautiful film!

I am an older person with hearing deficits. Therefore, I was unable to hear a lot of the audio. Is there a way to add captions? I really would like to know what was being said. Thank you.

Barbara...
I wish I could but it is not my video to edit plus, I am one person who does everything on this blog and it would take many additional hours a week to make transcripts of all the videos.

You're right that captioning should be something we could do and maybe big websites with a staff of people can but I already work full time on TGB. Maybe soon voice technology will catch up with the need.

Meanwhile, I am sorry I don't have an answer

"Whatever comes, I will accept it and enjoy it."

Love this film! Thank you for sharing.

Thank you, Ronni and Tom. I was indeed enchanted, by every bit of it.

This film was so damn good I had to share it with several people who will no doubt wonder what I saw in it. Aside from being artistically perfect, the film spoke to my love (apparently shared by the filmmaker) of thirties/forties era films and styles and artifacts. I don't think it was because I was born in 1935 and grew up in the 40s and 50s. I think it's just that this was a perfect era, before the shit came tumbling down on all of us.

Barbara, YouTube always has a closed caption option available. Unfortunately, probably because of the narrator's thick but charming accent, the captioning on this one made no sense. Also, note to Cop Car: I watched The Verdict, too, for probably the third or fourth time. I love that movie, and not necessarily because of the older actors. It's well made, superbly acted, and has that whole justice wins out thing going for it. And Paul Newman.

Loved it!

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