Films for Later Life

In this issue...

“Romance and New Relationships in Later Life” by Connie Goldman

“Knowing When to Resist, When to Accept”
by Jim Vanden Bosch

“Films as Guidance for Positive Aging”
by Harry R. Moody

“Keeping the Little Things Little...” by John Sullivan

“How to Watch a Movie”
by Bolton Anthony

“The Gunfighter Grows Old”
by Steve Taylor

“Showtime at Wolf Creek Lodge”
by Jacque Bromm

Supplemental feature article

“The Skinny on Cooperative Householding”
Review by Marilyn Hartman


“A Village Far Outside Shanghai”
A poem by Earl Cooper

From the editor...

The focus of this new issue of Itineraries is on film — or, more specifically, on feature “films for the second half of life.” For two years running now, Second Journey has partnered with the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill to sponsor an ongoing series of film/discussion evenings; and with this issue, we unveil the fall lineup of our new season.

Readers around the country have asked to receive our film series announcements. We doubt many are planning to attend, so what are they looking for? Probably films for their personal viewing. And — just maybe — ideas that will help them launch a similar series in their own communities. This issue is a first step in seeing how we might be more helpful. Articles by Connie Goldman, Jim Vanden Bosch, John Sullivan, and Rick Moody use the lens of some wonderful films to explore issues of aging. Steve Taylor adds a piece on John Wayne's last film, The Shootist; and I share a personal cinematic epiphany. We also include a selected list of 50 film titles.

If this issue is a first step, what might be the next? It might be to collect additional essays and contributors, expand the content significantly, and publish a book. In fact, Second Journey has just done that — published Odysseys for the Soul: Travel and Transformation online this past spring; now we follow with the release of an expanded, beautifully illustrated (and slightly re-titled) print edition, Journeys Outward, Journeys Inward: Travel and Transformation.

If this issue on film sparks your interest and you'd like to add your voice to the mix, let us know. In the meanwhile, enjoy the issue!

— Bolton Anthony, Founder

Got films?

 for a selected list of 50

 "Films for the second half of life" 

A Village Far Outside Shanghai
A poem by Earl Cooper

they say you can get drunk here
simply from the air

this high in mountains
the geese never stop
you can hear them pass
all honk and appointment
during early light
the sounds their wings make
lifting and lifting

within the village
a woman begins to sweep stones
bathing them with dippersful of water
while on the roof of our hotel
an old man is gently
filling the sky with calligraphy

come, I say
let us walk out this morning
among the leaping green ridges of tea
and be like the air
that never ends

immortal as light
empty as this cup


Romance & New Relationships in Later Life

And sex? Alive and well according to the 22 couples I interviewed for my book... Human needs for closeness, touch and intimacy remain with us until our last breath. Older people embrace, kiss, and make love. Sexuality is alive and thriving in folks with big bellies and gray hair... More...

Knowing When to Resist, When to Accept

Aging, we could say, has “come of age” in our society — at least in terms of our awareness of it. With baby boomers now crossing over into the land of elderhood at the rate of 8,000 to 10,000 a day, many popular films are trying to story-tell what those travelers are experiencing as they navigate that uneven, uncertain terrain... More...

Films as Guidance for Positive Aging

Films can offer powerful images of positive aging, and, by examining them closely, we can find a counter-narrative to the negative images of age so prevalent in our culture. In this discussion, we consider four films: Wild Strawberries, Groundhog Day, It’s a Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Carol...  More...

Keeping the Little Things Little...

A first sketch of elders is to look at grandparents at their best. I see such grandparents having three tasks relative to the younger people: (1) To keep the little things little and the big things big, (2) to encourage creativity, and (3) to bless the young. Let’s look at each in turn . . . More...

Showtime at
Wolf Creek Lodge

Film, Food, and Fun
at the Common House

The vegetable garden keeps yielding a bountiful harvest, full of surprises: pumpkins, melons, and sunflowers sprouting from our magical compost. The pumpkins we’ve made into wonderful pies. Then someone suggested we schedule movie night in the common house after shared meals. And so, the night we showed Ratatouille, we ate it also. We are inundated now with ripening tomatoes (every gardener knows about this!), so just last week we feasted on fried green tomatoes, then watched… you know what. We’re planning an East Indian, curry-themed dinner for when we show The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

The community garden, the dinners together, even the films (if you’ve watched Fried Green Tomatoes, you’ll understand what I mean) — they all are building a strong and enveloping sense of community. These are the best days of our lives!

— Jacque Bromm


How to Watch a Movie

Experimenting further (this time without benefit of chemicals), I allowed my former wife to lead me — blindfolded — into a theater, plop me down in a seat, and remove the blindfold only after the movie titles had ended. I then proceeded to have one of the most memorable movie experiences of my life... More...

The Gunfighter Grows Old

In his later films, Wayne allowed himself to look old, and he even allowed himself to be killed. But he would never allow his characters to go down in disgrace and without purpose. As legacies go, it may not be timeless, but a man could do far worse... More...

The Skinny on Cooperative Householding

...for the moment, Jean, Karen, and Louise have modeled for us how to create the strong bonds of community in a shared house, but we will need a sequel to answer the question, “What next?”...