The interface of old age and cinema provides a fascinating yet uncharted territory in the humanities and social sciences. Two central perspectives are explored: movies on old age by old filmmakers; and movies on old age by younger artists. The first perspective focuses on the cinematic representation of ageing from within, whereas the second examines the ways ageing is viewed from the outside. The distinction is based on the schism between the phenomenology of ageing and its social representation: The one hinges on intrinsic qualities of 'old age style' or 'late style'; the second addresses attitudes towards old age in general as well as towards ageing artists and the reception (or rejection) of their late films. The author combines these general perspectives as it shifts between text and context, beginning with ageing from the outside in order to introduce the semantics and pragmatics of the context (reception and filmmaking stylistic change, midlife images of old age), and continuing into the world of ageing as cinematically represented from within, by old filmmakers, an often idiosyncratic, metaphysical and sometimes unapproachable world.
By providing a roadmap that charts previous scholarly paths of inquiry, this book offers a panoramic view of the direction of this new field of cinematic gerontology, and is essential reading for students and scholars of cinema, humanistic gerontology, psychology of art, and the sociology of old age and popular culture.
Amir Cohen-Shalev is a PhD graduate of the University of Toronto (1985). He has since taught courses in life span creativity and human development, art in old age and motion picture as educational text, at the universities of Haifa and Tel Aviv, and Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee.