Silver Images Film Festival

Presented by the Chicago-based documentary production and distribution company Terra Nova Films, the Silver Images Film Festival runs Friday through Wednesday, April 30 through May 5, at Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; North Shore Senior Center Bldg. D, 7 Happ Rd., Northfield; and Oakton Community College Hartstein Campus, 7701 N. Lincoln, Skokie. All films are free and will be shown on video. For more information call 773-881-8491.


Maestro Mehli Mehta and the American Youth Symphony

Cory Anderson’s hour-long 1992 documentary offers an engaging if cursory profile of Indian-born conductor Mehli Mehta, cutting between interviews with the maestro to footage of him guiding musicians from the podium and of colleagues, students, and family praising him. Mehta is rightly credited for having brought Western classical music to India in the 30s and 40s–and the Bombay footage from that era is a find–but the film glosses over his Zoroastrian upbringing, his long-standing ties to Israel, and the trouble he’s had finding a top-notch conducting post in the West. Two of Mehta’s children–Zubin, the conductor, and Zarin, executive director of the Ravinia Festival–are pillars of contemporary classical music, but Mehli has also mentored countless musicians in LA’s American Youth Symphony, which he started in 1964; shown rehearsing the group at age 83, he’s paternal but perfectionist, an ageless wonder who still gets high on the music. (TS) On the same program, Barbara Malcolm’s Sheltered Near the River (1997), Mark Hallar-Wade’s Flowers for Charlie (1996), and Erland Overby’s Norwegian short Down, Across (1997). (North Shore Senior Center, 1:00)



Joel Meyerowitz directed this heartfelt valentine to his 87-year-old father, Hy, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. The director’s son serves as cameraman, and the two of them take the old man on a road trip from his south Florida retirement community to the Bronx, where he was born and later raised his family. Though frail in body and mind, “Pop” retains his warmth, toughness, and crusty sense of humor as he, his son, and his grandson try to reclaim the past. His halting recollections are intercut with home-movie footage from more vigorous days, heightening our regret for the passage of time, yet Meyerowitz avoids mawkishness, letting Pop do much of the talking and proving that it’s never too late to honor thy father. (TS) On the same program, Erland Overby’s Down, Across and Peter Reynolds and Gary Goldberger’s animated short Living Forever. (Chicago Cultural Center, noon)


A Calcutta Christmas

Maree Delofski’s 1998 Indian-Australian documentary profiles the aging residents of the Tollygunge house, a refuge for Anglo-Indians in Calcutta. Showing with Parker Cross’s Dance Hall Daze (1994), Kjersti Martinsen’s Wednesdays (1996), and Pegi Vail’s Dodgers Sym-Phony (1998). (Chicago Cultural Center, 2:00)


Time on Earth

A 1997 Canadian documentary by David Mortin and Patricia Fogliato about three retired seniors on the road. On the same program, Mark Hallar-Wade’s Flowers for Charlie and Carol Halstead’s Why? (1994). (Oakton Community College, 2:30)