Valentine’s Day was just a week ago, and of course the air was filled with love bubbles everywhere, even until now! Me and my friends had made plans and we agreed to watch a romantic film together and be each other’s valentines [cries]. So we came across this American film, Our Souls at Night, which is based on a novel by Kent Haruf of a same name.
The calm pace — with scenes taken in perfectly circumscribed directions — and the realistic performances provided by two experienced actors, Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, the film had left us all in awe. The film surrounds itself with two widowed old folks, attempting to help each other to get through the night.
The portrayal of the sense of loneliness, and the feelings of negligence were tragically beautiful; it evokes a realisation in me that films like these should be produced more! So, I thought, why not come up with other films that touch on the subject of ageing?
1. Old Partner (2009)
Having been nominated in and consequently won numerous awards from film festivals, this South Korean documentary film is a simple collection of moments between an old farmer, Choi, and his 40-year-old cow. Their friendship has been nurturing over the decades and they have formed an extraordinary chemistry, exceeding way beyond any barriers of language and species.
Towards the end of the movie, Choi learns about the fear of losing his cow. The importance of companion once again surfaces and will make you appreciate things around you, most probably in a whole new perspective.
2. My Love, Don’t Cross That River (2013)
Similar to the previous film, this is a Korean documentary but about a long-lasting old couple. I have never before felt so warm at heart and attentive in watching some ordinary people carrying out their mundane routines, but this old couple has the most adorable interactions.
I guess those are the most simple, yet rarest kind of human connection we can find in our society nowadays. This film is a masterly significant reflection to the younger generations on the ways we treat each other, especially our loved ones and the people who love us.
3. A Thousand Years of Good Prayers (2007)
An American drama about Mr. Shi, a retired widower, who visits his daughter Yilan after her divorce with the intention of helping her through the process of healing. Throughout his stay, the two generations start to learn how powerful and essential communication is. The film producer Kim Voynar has described the film as “meticulously paced and beautifully shot”, to which I cannot agree more.
4. Edie (2017)
It saddens me to see elders being set away from the younger generation’s world, especially when their age is being treated as an inevitable defect in functioning or an incompetence to keep up with the newer side of time. After all, those who have aged were once young and those who are young are bound to age as well.
Edie, a woman in her eighties, struggles and suffers in trying to keep herself from being sent to a retirement house while having to maintain an amicable relationship with her daughter. It was a game-changing moment when she decides to fulfil her unaccomplished trip, climbing the Scottish Highlands, because it was then she found the best version of herself. It was aesthetically inspiring to see how Edie represents the idea of courage, persistence and giving herself a new chance.
5. Poetry (2010)
Lastly, as I love love love watching Korean motion pictures, here’s one last film I would like to recommend! Two words to describe the plot would be… absorbing, and poignant. The leading actress did an outstanding job portraying a suburban woman who struggles with Alzheimer’s disease, then finds herself falling in love with poetry.
The movie covers a range of sensitive issues including social divisions, sexual assaults and suicide. Through these, the director has provided the society an opportunity to be more aware and to start a conversation of the societal issues around us.
So, if you are at the moment bored of the usual romantic films that normally shed light on young loves, crushes, marriage and teenage drama or even for those who are looking for a purpose to move on, to continue walking or to give yourself a reset button… this list of genuine, simple but meaningful films are there for you as a great start.
Written by Vicki Lai
Cover photo credits: Stocksy