I was asked by the Ealing Oldies Network to show them a film and lead the following discussion. EON is a friendship group of old people who meet locally every Monday. It is self organised, people share their knowledge and plan their activities.
I was pleased to be asked but wondered what film I would choose not knowing the members of the group or how many would attend. I felt that I would leave the great classics for later if enough members showed interest in this activity. I was delighted that 12 people turned up for the session, and pleased to see that the technical facility was all sorted out.
I chose Make Mine Mink (1960) taking the risk of some people not appreciating farce.
The following notes were taken by two members:
Most enjoyed it and laughed out loud
A few objected to the sexist stereotypes and some pointed out that men were also stereotyped.
Enjoyed the nostalgia
One person did not, it reminded her of watching similar comedies with her mum and dad and found it very sexist, especially at the beginning, she preferred the later part of the film when the action started
One person noted that the screenwriter Michael Pertwee was the brother of John Pertwee actor in Dr. Who
The old people in the film were bored and came to life when they started their actions, one identified with that feeling and would like to set up a “Spontaneous Action” group (laughs all round)
It was fun, usually there is a lot of negativity about old people, here it was refreshing
The mother next door was made to be a fool
We went on to have further debate about how , in recent years older woman are having more significant and stronger roles in film. We talked about Judi Dench in the Bond film, Maggie Smith in “The Van”. We also had a discussion on “Iris”, the film about Iris Murdoch and agreed that it did not depict her whole life, her life as a writer and an intellectual was not portrayed, just her early life and her life after dementia. We wondered was this because her husband John Bailey wrote the
book on which the film was made.
It was obvious that the members of EON enjoyed sharing their feelings and thoughts about the film as they expressed that they would like more sessions. I look forward to introducing them to the often neglected ‘classics’ about old people.