Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jim Armenti, William E. Arnold Jr., Joe Benoit, Helen Boston, Louise Canady, Bob Cilman, Elaine Fligman, Jean Florio, Len Fontaine, Stan Goldman, Eileen Hall, Jeanne Hatch, Christopher Haynes, Frederick Alexander Johnson, Donald Jones, Fred Knittle, Norma Landry, John Larareo, Patricia Larese, Miriam Leader, Patricia Linderme, Brock Lynch, Steve Martin, Joseph Mitchell, Dora B. Morrow, Gloria Parker, Liria Petrides, Ed Rehor, Bob Salvini, Steven M. Sanderson, Jack Schnepp, Janice St. Laurence, Ed Wise
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Stephen Walker, Sally George
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild language and thematic elements
Running Time: 107
Date: 07/01/2007

Young@Heart (2007)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Fix You

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In the wonderful new documentary Young @ Heart, a group of seventy, eighty and ninety-year olds get together and perform songs by Sonic Youth, Coldplay, James Brown, the Clash, David Bowie, the Ramones and other contemporary bands. It sounds dubious and cutesy, but within minutes it reveals itself as the real thing and doubt gives way to unbridled enthusiasm. It's the type of film that sometimes becomes a word-of-mouth hit, although converts won't want to talk too much about what happens; as you may guess, some of the singers don't have long to live and one or two of them don't make it to the end of the film. Several characters become fascinating in their own right, but none more so than troupe director Bob Cilman, who does not pander to his singers because of their age. He's a tough, brutal drill sergeant, but he can open his heart when it matters most. The film's director Stephen Walker adds his own narration and occasionally enters into the film, which somehow makes it feel less like a documentary; Walker is just as caught up in the moment as we are. Walker's wife, the producer Sally George, directed several funny music videos featuring the group, but the film's highlight has to be a truly emotionally overwhelming concert at a prison. (As of today, the group has a following in Europe and has a CD available.)

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