Presented by the Chicago-based documentary production and distribution company Terra Nova Films, the eighth annual Silver Images Film Festival continues Friday, May 4, through Friday, May 18, at Atlas Senior Center, 1767 E. 79th St.; Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; Church of the Open Door, 5954 S. Albany; Copernicus Senior Center, 3160 N. Milwaukee; Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center, 3551 Highland, Downers Grove; Horizons Community Services, 961 W. Montana; Maravilla Independent and Assisted Senior Living, 145 N. Milwaukee, Vernon Hills; North Shore Senior Center, 161 Northfield Rd., Northfield; Presbyterian Homes, 3200 Grant, Evanston; South Chicago Towers, 9177 S. South Chicago; South Chicago YMCA, 3039 E. 91st St.; South Shore United Church of Christ, 7401 S. Yates; and Southwest Suburban Center on Aging/Plymouth Place, 315 N. LaGrange Rd., La Grange Park. Unless otherwise noted, films will be shown on video. For more information call 773-881-6940.


Short films, program one

Fred Camper writes, “Holly O’Mara’s Mick and Helen (2000, 32 min.), about a couple approaching their 65th wedding anniversary, is the usual mix of talking heads, old photos, and old film footage. They’re admirably energetic, and their stories give a good sense of their ordinary midwestern lives.” Ted Shen writes, “In Lisa Kaufman’s Packing for Two (1999, 13 min.) a widow who still sees and talks to her dead husband prepares for a vacation; it’s conventional in tone and full of Jewish cliches, though the glossy cinematography makes it watchable.” And in Beryl Gets Younger by the Day (2000, 25 min.), Carroll Baker follows a woman in her late 60s as she takes part in a six-week program to increase longevity. (Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center, 9:00 am)

Short films, program two

Julie Harris narrates The Traveling Brushes (1999, 29 min.), a documentary about five senior women who paint landscapes on the eastern shore of Maryland. Rachel Griffiths directed the Australian short Tulip (1998, 15 min.), about a widower who must figure out how to care for his late wife’s cow. And in Royal Wulff (2000, 16 min.), an Australian student film by Leonard Yip, another widower tries to cope with the death of his fishing buddy. On the same program, Useless (see listing for “The Best of the Shorts” on Thursday, May 10). (Southwest Suburban Center on Aging/Plymouth Place, 1:00)

Short films, program three

A trio of films celebrating diverse friendships. Ronit Bezalel (Voices of Cabrini) directed When Shirley Met Florence (1994, 28 min.), about two women who grew up together indulging their love of music. Carl Pfirman’s The Confession (2000, 22 min.) is about two gay men who have been together for 35 years. David Collier’s documentary For Better or for Worse (1993, 55 min.), about five couples whose respective relationships have lasted half a century, was nominated for an Oscar. (Horizons Community Services, 7:00)


Life: The Silver Age

Charlotte Metcalf’s 2000 documentary is an interesting if unremarkable segment from a British TV series, examining the lives of seniors in Japan, India, and Tunisia, and how they have (or haven’t) coped with the challenges posed to their traditional ways of life by modern Western culture. 24 min. (Reece Pendleton) (Atlas Senior Center, 1:00)


The Yard People: An Intergenerational Love Story

In this satisfying 1999 documentary, W.J. Hardiman interviews a group of pioneering black residents of Buffalo, New York, whose informal neighborhood socials, begun in the 1940s, paved the way for the city’s blossoming black middle class. 25 min. (Reece Pendleton) (Atlas Senior Center, 10:30 am)

Short films, program four

Aging in Chicago: Love and Loss (2000, 32 min.) features interviews with Harry Caray’s widow, Dutchie, and with former DePaul University basketball coach Ray Meyer, who lost his wife after 39 years. On the same program, Packing for Two and The Yard People: An Intergenerational Love Story. (South Chicago Towers, 2:00)


Grandma’s Hands

Jennifer Paige directed this 1999 documentary about the phenomenon of seniors raising their grandchildren when the parents are incapacitated by drug addiction. 28 min. (Atlas Senior Center, 10:30 am)

Short films, program five

Mick and Helen and Beryl Gets Younger by the Day. (Copernicus Senior Center, 12:15)


For Better or for Worse

See listing for “Short films, program three” on Friday, May 4. (Atlas Senior Center, 12:30)

Short films, program four

See listing for Monday, May 7. (South Shore United Church of Christ, 2:00)

Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter

Deborah Hoffman’s exceptional personal documentary (1994) is a beautifully precise, acute, intelligent, practical, touching, and even (at times) comic record of how she copes with her discovery that her mother has Alzheimer’s disease. Using video and audio recordings of her interactions with her mother and some on-camera statements of her own, she charts in haunting detail precisely what memory loss entails, not only for her mother but for her as she adjusts to the situation. Full of wisdom and insight about its subject, this 44-minute essay film is far from depressing. (JR) (Maravilla Independent and Assisted Senior Living, 7:00)

Short films, program three

See listing for Friday, May 4. (Church of the Open Door, 7:00)


Short films, program four

See listing for Monday, May 7. (South Chicago YMCA, 10:00 am)

Mick and Helen

See listing for “Short films, program one” on Friday, May 4. (Atlas Senior Center, 10:30 am)

Short films, program six

Mark Haller-Wade’s Flowers for Charlie (1996) is a sentimental, didactic vignette about an old man who befriends fellow passengers on his regular bus route. His calming influence is missed when he doesn’t show up for three days in a row, leaving us with the obvious moral that we should cherish rather than ignore seniors. (TS) On the same program, Mick and Helen, The Traveling Brushes, and Beryl Gets Younger by the Day. (North Shore Senior Center, 1:00)

The Best of the Shorts

Cuteness and sentimentality mar Daniel Gamburg’s Tsipa & Volf (2000, 25 min.), a home-movie-like portrait

of a Jewish-Russian couple who’ve

been together for half a century

(which I only sampled), as well as

Ryo Hayashi’s fictional short Useless (2000, 14 min.), about a Japanese insurance worker who’s retiring.

But the three other works on this

program refreshingly avoid such pitfalls: Jophi Ries’s Always (1999, 14 min.), a subtle German fiction short about another long-term marriage; Jennifer Petrucelli’s Inside/Out (2000,

8 min.), an affecting documentary about a woman whose face is half-

paralyzed; and Scott Catolico’s silly

but spirited Canadian jaunt Smoking Can Kill You (1999, 5 min.). (JR)

The screening will be preceded by

an hour of live music featuring Johnny Frigo and Joe Vito. (Chicago Cultural Center, 6:30)

Short films, program seven

Mick and Helen and The Traveling Brushes. (Presbyterian Homes, 7:15)