I have never been enthralled by the Oscar ceremonies and awards and have rarely followed the news about the overinflated and nauseating event.

Yesterday however two links were brought to my attention.



I will not declare that AGEISM and SEXISM is still rife in the film industry so as not to be accused of not acknowledging the events of the last year.

However I do despair.

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VOLVER (2006) Ealing Oldies Network


Full house again at the EON : 14 women, 4 men for Volver

A very dense and complex discussion difficult to convey due to the variety of themes summarised here.

Two women had seen the film before.

Two immediate comments were:
– It is only seeing the film for the second time that I appreciated its humour.
– A male viewer saw it as a ‘Greek Tragedy’ and wondered if retribution would follow. Others disagreed.

A question and answer from the floor:
Why is he female character so sexualised the film?
Almodovar initially shows the way women are traditionally perceived (and portrayed): cleaning, cooking, sexual objects, serving and meeting men’s needs. But he also shows the other side, women’s resourcefulness, their solidarity and strength, juxtaposing the two.

Very Colourful : lots of red . Focus on the knife as weapon, first seen during washing-up scene.

Main themes: Mothers protecting children, mother/daughter relationship, family secrets, skeletons in cupboard, incest/sexual abuse, death, superstition/reality. Some thought both murders were ‘crimes of passion’, wind that make people mad, extreme ridiculousness’.
Male characters secondary. History repeating itself – abuse, killing, down the generations.

Secondary themes: plight of immigrants, Russian  emigrees, women’s poverty, private/public spheres, what kept in family ‘washing linen in private’ v disclosing personal stuff to all and sundry on reality television. Demented Aunt Paula’s home – orderly, baking produced, etc.  clue that she not alone in the house!

Film generally very well-received and much enjoyed!




Posted in Ageing, audience responses, death, family, FILM RECEPTION, grief, motherhood, murder, three generations of women, women's friendships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Note of comments ‘Pather Panchali’ – Ealing Oldies Network (EON) 22 Jan 2018

About twenty attended. One, who had seen it before, found the film engaged her in the same way as when she’d first seen it. Comments, as main themes, were:

Much more than a story: the forest, nature, land, water/the well, the animals; the monsoon, how it was portrayed by water lilies; all entwined; life as a whole. The ineptness of humanity; the role of religion; the train that could be seen but could not be boarded. The pylon, a sign of modern life, symbol of the future. Apart from that, all materials are biodegradable, no plastic.

Importance of family: the affect of poverty on people’s lives, how the family could not leave the village, how ancestry and family history affected current relationshipswithin the familyand within the village.

Aunt Indir’s relationship with her niece Durga is touching-Durga enjoys giving Indirfruit “stolen” from the garden that would have been theirs but wasn’t because Durga’s father Harri believed a villager’s claim that Harri’s brother died leaving debts. Indir’s sister-in-law Sarbojaya struggles to feed the family because Harri, a holy man, is an impractical dreamer who believes everything will work out somehow. She hardly tolerates Indir, Harri’s sister. We see Indir’s full role within the family when her nephew Apu was born andyears laterwhen she tells the children a story about an ogre. Her silhouette on the wall looks scary but we see her independent spirit at work, feeding herself and moving out when Sarbojaya makes her feel unwelcome. Despite her bony appearance and no teeth, Indir’s personality shines through.

Long after Durga dies, Apu discovers the beads Durga was accused of stealing from her childhood play-mates. He throws them into the pond straight away, such is his loyalty to his sister’s memory.

These are relationships that we can relate to, regardless of great differences in circumstances, country, culture and time. The film was set in circa 1947.

One commented that it reminded her of Hansel and Gretel who also lived an impoverished life, making brooms in the woods, who spill precious milk the family can’t afford to lose, while playing. The setting in both stories appears romantic but in both stories there is a “no good” husband and a depressed wife. Someone else said it was like ‘Angela’s Ashes’ (I didn’t catch how, possibly the father’s alcoholism.)

The music: particular melodies used to portray various moods. Fear when the storm tore at the flimsy fabric of the house, raw grief when Harri returns after 5 months absence with presents, including a sari for Durga, whose fragile health failed the fight for life, contrary to the doctor’s prognosis.

Many noticed symbolic details: the dead frog, belly-up; Indir’s water-bowl which rolls away when she dies in the woods; Apu setting off with umbrella and shawl, the “man of the house;” the cow passively chewing and the snake that slithers into the family’s derelict house, at the end of the film, as nature reclaims the land.

Androulla Kyriacou

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Pather Panchali in Ealing

18 enthusiastic people attended the fifth film session of the Ealing Oldies Network (EON): Pather Panchali (1955).

The post viewing session was very lively and everybody participated and shared feelings and thoughts. (Notes not available).
What was remarkable for me is the way Ray’s symbolic language was widely appreciated by all.
A few members were determined to try and see the sequels.

For me Sarbojaya’s expression of grief through the heart rending music was again as powerful as when I first saw the film.


Posted in Ageing, ageing couple, audience responses, classic film, family, FILM RECEPTION, grief, motherhood | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment



In the 18/01/2018 issue of The Guardian, Anne Bilson examines the Old Woman in Horror Films and coins the word “hagsploitation”.

I admit I have paid no attention to these films in my research. The genre has never appealed to me and apart from Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962) I was not aware of the significant filmography of this genre since the 60s.

Bilson notes that in this film Crawford was 56 years old and Davis 54.

In a heartbreaking echo of Hollywood’s real-life attitude to its ageing female talent, they’re playing washed-up actors driven mad by their own obsolescence, bound together by self-loathing, agonisingly aware of their vanished sex appeal.

The film was a great success and hagsploitation was born says Bilson quoting many late films with old characters played by Shelley Winters, Olivia de Havilland, Joan Fontaine.

After a lull in old women in Horror films Bilson sees a revival of the genre but this time she says:

It’s no longer considered demeaning when a 75-year-old screen legend such as Gena Rowlands plays a hoodoo harridan in The Skeleton Key (2005). Next month, 72-year-old Helen Mirren stars in the haunted-house movie Winchester. And in October, 59-year-old Jamie Lee Curtis will be reprising her role as Laurie Strode in a reboot of the film that made her famous. “

I find it sad that in the gap between horror and costume dramas or terminal superficiality there are not more films like for example:  Alexandra (an old woman point of view about war) , Antonia’s Line (three generations of a family), The Company of Strangers (diversity of experiences), Aquarius (ageing in a changing world) where the old woman is represented in all the aspects of a long life.

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Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (2017)

Just a note to add the above to Ageing Actor category. Also the second film this season for breast cancer to be in the picture. (The other film being Aquarius).


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