Monday, March 25, 2013

Movies about Mature Artists

Art by Grandma Moses as photographed by Bosc D'Anjou.
Creativity is not the sole property of the young.  From birth to death, people develop, grow and create. Some work consistently on their art from youth to late adulthood. Others are older adults before they find their passion to create. Grandma Moses  is the oft-cited example of someone developing a new skill later in life.

What follows is a list of films that celebrate the creative work of mature artists. Last Update 5/11/14

I recently saw a segment from 60 Minutes, aired in January of 2015 about a singing group in Harlem called "Alive and Kickin'" The performers are 55 plus.  Here's the link.

Iris (2015). Born in 1921 and still going strong into her 90s, Iris Apfel commands a lot of attention for her collection of costume jewelry and internationally acquired clothing. Trailer.

Advanced Style (2014).  This 72-minute documentary features seven mature fashionistas from New York as photographed by Ari Seth Cohen.   Full film review.

Quartet (2012). Set in a retirement home for mature musicians, this film boasts a cast of many accomplished opera singers and orchestra musicians. The setting includes snippets of them performing and talking about performing into late adulthood. The main plot focuses on a newly-arrived opera singer (played by Maggie Smith) and her refusal to participate in the annual fundraiser

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011) featuring sushi chef Jiro Ono (b. 1925) who was 85 years old during filming and still putting in full days at his sushi restaurant, which has earned 3 Michelin stars. He is the oldest recipient of the award.

Gerhard Richter (2011) featuring painter Gerhard Richter.  A life-long artist, Richter (b. 1932) still is quite prolific in late adulthood.

Gotta Dance (2008).  The Brooklyn Nets basketball team decided to develop a team of senior dancers or half-time entertainment, and the NETsentional Seniors team was born. This documentary shows 13 seniors from try outs through their entire first season.

Starting Out in the Evening (2007). Frank Langella stars as a mature novelist who hasn't published a book in years when he meets a young graduate student. She's writing her master's thesis on his work. When she starts asking him questions about his writing style and themes, the older man starts to examine his life and his relationships--past and presents.

Been Rich All My Life (2006). This documentary profiles five chorus girls who danced in Harlem at the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater--and who are still dancing as part of a group called the Silver Belles. They range in age from 84 to 96.  They tell stories and share photos from their heyday, but they all demonstrate full engagement in the present. They also have to manage some age-related problems, but they stay focused on their passion for dancing. 

The Cats of Mirikitani (2006) featuring 80-year-old painter Jimmy Mirikitani (b. 1920). The film maker found him living on the streets of Manhattan.  But she soon discovered his rich history as a Japanese internment survivor and saw his talent for painting.

A Man Named Pearl (2006) featuring topiary artist Pearl Fryar (b. 1939) who sculpts trees and shrubs in his Bishopville, SC yard into amazing works of art. He found his talent in late life and inspire others with his work.

Young @ Heart (2005) featuring a choral group of mature singers. Some of the group members face health challenges, but they push themselves in order to participate, showing a triumph of will.

Callas Forever (2002). Zeffirelli directs a highly fictional account of Maria Callas filming a performance of Carmen using a recording of her own voice from years prior.  This project sparks questions about identity, age, youth, art, and artistic integrity.

Buena Vista Social Club (1999). German director Win Wenders films mature Cuban musicians about their decades-long careers.  We meet a variety of people still performing in their 80s and 90s.

Alberta Hunter: My Castle's Rockin' (1992).  Hunter (1885-1994) ran away from home in Memphis at age 11, taking a train to Chicago where she hoped to get a job singing.  After a short stint peeling potatoes, Hunter landed a job singing in a nightclub with rough patrons.  Her persistence and talent brought her to better nightclubs, to work in London and Paris, to roles on Broadway, and to recording albums.  During the war she performed with the USO, and then quit the music business and worked for a couple of decades as a nurse. At 82, she received an invitation to perform in Greenwich Village which helped her launch a six year comeback--which included an album and a performance at the White House.


Films about Aging A-L

No comments:

Post a Comment