Presented by the Chicago-based documentary production and distribution company Terra Nova Films, the eighth annual Silver Images Film Festival continues Friday, May 11, through Friday, May 18, at Atlas Senior Center, 1767 E. 79th; Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; Gerber/Hart Library, 1127 W. Granville; Hinsdale Unitarian Church, 11 Maple, Hinsdale; Maravilla Independent and Assisted Senior Living, 145 N. Milwaukee, Vernon Hills; Trinity Hospital, 2320 E. 93rd; and Trinity United Church of Christ, 532 W. 95th. Admission is free, and all films will be shown on video. For more information call 773-881-6940.


Short films, program one

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.” 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, The Yard People: An Intergenerational Love Story (see listing for “Short films, program two” this date below). (Trinity Hospital, 10:00 am)

Short films, program two

Five short video documentaries about ordinary individuals who quietly achieve remarkable things, often on behalf of others. In Simply Human (2000, 30 min.), Izzy Abrahami profiles 90-year-old dancer Hans Snoek, who saved many Jewish children during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands by hiding them in her home and went on to create programs that brought dance into the lives of young refugees. Snoek is indisputably a heroic individual, though at times Abrahami doesn’t so much celebrate her achievements as beat us over the head with them. Grandma’s Hands (1998, 28 min.) is a more genuinely affecting work precisely because of Jennifer Paige’s understated approach to her subjects, three women who have taken custody of their grandchildren as a result of the parents’ chronic drug abuse. One of these women, a 55-year-old named Loretta, has a life story compelling enough to warrant its own documentary. Equally satisfying is The Yard People: An Intergenerational Love Story (1999, 29 min.), in which W.J. Hardiman interviews a group of pioneering black residents of Buffalo, New York, whose informal neighborhood socials in the 1940s paved the way for the city’s black middle class. Scott Catolico’s goofy Smoking Can Kill U (1998, 4 min.) features a 92-year-old woman whose main accomplishment seems to be her success in staying alive despite several decades of chain-smoking. Life: The Silver Age (2000, 24 min.), an interesting if unremarkable segment from a British TV series, examines 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. (Reece Pendleton) (Chicago Cultural Center, 10:00 am)

Beryl Gets Younger by the Day

Carroll Baker’s 2000 film follows a woman in her late 60s as she takes part in a six-week program to increase longevity. 25 min. (Atlas Senior Center, 10:30 am)

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 over 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. (Gerber/Hart Library, 7:00)


Short films, program three

See listing for Friday, May 11. (Hinsdale Unitarian Church, 7:00)


Short films, program one

See listing for Friday, May 11. (Trinity United Church of Christ, noon)


Nobody’s Business

Alan Berliner’s essayistic 1996 documentary about his crotchety father, his relationship with him, and family memories in general is a wonderful piece of work that’s every bit as entertaining, thoughtful, and distinctive as Intimate Stranger (1992), Berliner’s earlier feature about his maternal grandfather. 60 min. (JR) (Maravilla Independent and Assisted Senior Living, 7:00)