When we think of senior citizens, there’s a sad tendency to be unable to look past their frailty and see the richness of their experience. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of foreign films that do just that. Here are some of our picks.
You can’t talk about films related to inter-generational complexities and not mention Yasujirô Ozu. This critically acclaimed film, which manages to make it to every “Best films of all time” list, is a simple slice of life treatment about ageing parents, busy children, parental expectations, filial duty, and how life and time contribute to the growing generation gap.
Directed by Vladimír Michálek, this beautiful Czech film features the antics of Frantisek Hána and his partner in crime Eda, a pair of terminal pranksters who spend their days dreaming up elaborate pranks, much to the consternation of Frantisek’s long-suffering wife Emílie, who is saving up for a grand funeral. Their lives are complicated by their serial monogamist son, whose multiple divorces, affairs and alimony suits put them in danger of being carted off to nursing homes. At times hilarious, at times emotional, but never quite sad, this is truly a heartwarming watch.
Michael Haneke’s gut-wrenching film won an Oscar for best Foreign Film. It tells the tale of the marital vows of “till death do us part” being tested to the extreme. Georges and Anne are a couple of sophisticated retired music teachers. When Anne has a sudden stroke, Georges has to take care of her all by himself. The film takes an unflinching look at the difficulties of elder care, and beautifully portrays the incredible strength, loyalty and determination of its elderly protagonists.
This Oscar nominated film by Swedish director Felix Herngren is one fantastic romp with twist after twist, and ludicrous moments that will have you gasping with laughter. When centenarian Allan Karlsson finds himself stuck in a nursing home, he decides to make a break for it. Leaping out of a window, he embarks on a crazy adventure, makes some unlikely friends (and enemies), and forever changes the lives of the people on the chase.
Shoojit Sircar’s multiple award winning film is a refreshing break from Hollywood masala formulas, and features some stellar performances by Amitabh Bacchan, Deepika Padukone and Irrfan Khan. It takes the formula of the road trip movie, adds in some quirky characters like the headstrong Piku and her eccentric father, and gives you a story that is oh so relatable.