films that make a difference
Old is an investigative documentary from Kate Blewett and Brian Woods (Eyes of a Child, Slavery and The Dying Rooms) that shows that being old and forgotten are tragic, undeniable realities for many people in Blair's Britain. Through a handful of characters we are given an insight into a grim future that could await any one of us.
Edie was a victim of "elder-abuse" - beaten, urinated over and generally terrorised by her son-in-law: just one of many thousands of victims of this type of unreported domestic abuse. She eventually escaped to the sanctuary of a council run old folks' home, but cuts in social services budgets mean her home is now going to be closed and Edie is facing eviction.
Eugene is a silent prisoner in his own flat. At 77 he is taunted by the children on the estate and has been repeatedly burgled. He sits alone in the dark, with chaos and disorder all around him. Eugene described his life; "I’m just waiting to die".
71 year old Sheila is confined to her wheelchair. Today she sleeps on the streets of London after being thrown out of her home by the local authority because she fell behind with her rent after her husband died. Most nights she cry’s herself to sleep.
Fred, worked undercover in occupied Europe during the war. Now seeing out his days in a room 10ft by 7ft in Europe’s largest hostel for the homeless. He is one of the few people still alive to have been born in a workhouse. We follow Fred as he sets out to make one last journey before he dies.
1000 old people die alone and unnoticed in their flats every month. This is what happened to Margaret. Her body was not discovered for weeks. In the chaotic papers that she left behind we find evidence of a rich and varied life, she spoke several languages and had lived on three different continents. But in her last years she was alone and isolated. As the council worker clearing Margaret's flat says, "But for the grace of god, it could be me."
This beautifully shot and haunting film proves that, in these modern times, old age can still be a very scary place.