Warm Heart and Rusty Body ?

12th April 2011

Oh dear!

I promised myself when I started this blog not to mention every instance of ageism I come across in the fear of the ‘grumpy old woman accusation’. It has not been difficult up to now to keep to the cinema, my passion. But it seems that ageing is becoming fashionable in the press and the radio. I have no possibility to share my reactions to some items as I know that what I consider as unacceptable  will be deemed  uninteresting and trivial.  My film blog will have to do.

This morning. In the background, Radio 4 is broadcasting episode 2  of  the “Warmth of the Heart Prevents your Body from Rusting”. I have no time to research and study the writer Marie de Henezzel,  or the book and  I should not comment at all. But I use this as an opportunity to think. It is not a critique of the psychologist or her work that I do not know.

I thought initially  that the nonsensical title was a bad translation of the French one, but in fact it is exactly the same, word for word. I think that titles are extremely important. This title of the book about growing old offends me.  I do not see my body as a machine and warmth has never stopped anything from rusting. Heart and Body ? is Brain Heart or Body? I will be told that I am taking things too literally. Yes maybe – but I am resistant to the notion that emotions and thoughts and body are separate entities.

It may be unfair to pick on little details of the broadcast but as I was going on with my morning chores, a sentence  grated.     “How can old people be taught to grow old well?” this was followed by a call for old people to be given help to grow old ‘well’ and ‘happy’.   I belong to a number of old women  groups and  my perception  is that apart from some   individuals with mental health problems the majority of them do not need any help whatsoever. They show a zest for life and laughs in spite of disablements,  bereavements, family tragedies and the depressing effects of poverty, wars and natural disasters around the world.

The help old people need is the social provisions to avoid the deaths of thousands in a heat wave. The social provisions to facilitate contacts with other people and participation in the world around.   And I say this at a time when cultural spaces like libraries and day centres are being closed all around the country.

I will go back to Volver.

About rinaross

Born in 1935. MA in Film and Television Studies at the University of Westminster 1998. Studying the representation of older women in film since then.
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2 Responses to Warm Heart and Rusty Body ?

  1. seanjrankine says:

    Volver…superb film. Probably my favorite Almodóvar! To be honest I’ve made it my ambition to not allow myself to grow old in this country that I love, unless common attitudes change.

  2. Elizabeth O'Dell says:

    Right you are, Rina- we don’t need help to adjust or manage our feelings and reactions-it’s the loss of practical help that we feel. It’s all too easy to dismiss our opinions and attitudes, and perhaps that’s why it happens. During the earlier parts of our lives we do learn from those who are older and more experienced, so why should younger generations suddenly have the right to turn the tables on us and decide that they
    know best?

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