Mel Brook's 2000 Year Old ManToday’s Austin American Statesman has an article on Dustin Hoffman’s new film (Jan 25, 2013, page D1). It’s about a group of retired musicians and how they are facing, dealing, suffering, celebrating the final decades of their lives. The article goes on to mention a possible trend in filmmaking.

The trend is that our most famous actors and directors (Hoffman, Maggie Smith, Spielberg, etc.) are moving into their 70s and are making films about themselves as old people. These films show old people not using the stereotypes of years past (Think Aunt Bee of Mayberry in The Andy Griffith Show from the 1960s) but using a new vision that shows active, intelligent people dealing with interesting and challenging situations. Two films in this new mode are Hoffman’s Quartet and Amour by Michael Haneke.

There have been films in the past that celebrated being old. Think Trip to Bountiful or Driving Miss Daisy. But these films still showed old people as “old and out of the mainstream.” I think it’s possible to create a new vision of how people plan and mindfully live their whole lives. And this vision will be reflected in our popular culture, like films.

These new films will not take youthful themes and insert old people. No geriatric version of Iron Man or Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Or wizened old philosophers like Yoda in Star Wars: Episode V or the old Kung Fu master in The Karate Kid.

I’m not sure what roles old people will play in these future films. That is so because those of us moving into the seventh decade don’t know who we are either.

Will media shape us? Or will we shape the media?

We remade the 1960s. The future better watch out!

A personal note. I’m getting close to 70 myself (well 68 in May) and have been using this winter to study some new directions in filmmaking and seek a story to fashion into my next film. The current film in distribution, <Impasse>, deals with stagnation and awakening in middle age. The next one will push into elder realms. I’m not asking for ideas, but I am aware that this next film will investigate some exciting aspect of the last of the summer wine.

Films Mentioned

  1. Amour –
  2. Andy Griffith Show, The –
  3. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure –
  4. Driving Miss Daisy –
  5. <Impasse> –
  6. Iron Man –
  7. Karate Kid, The –
  8. Last of the Summer Wine –
  9. Star Wars: Episode V –
  10. Quartet –
  11. Trip to Bountiful –


Mel Brook’s The 2000 Year Old Man
Image itself found at