The Alliance for Living and Dying Well will show four films that explore the impact of loss, aging and mortality as well as their flip side — a deep appreciation of life. Dynamic speakers will facilitate a discussion following each showing, encouraging participants to acknowledge unfinished business and share their feelings.
Guest speakers include Charles Wolfe, professor of Film and Media Studies at UCSB; Susan Plummer, executive director of the Alliance for Living and Dying Well and author of the recently published Deep Change: Befriending the Unknown; Don Bushnell, former professor and founder of the Fielding Institute; and Phyllis de Picciotto, founder of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
All screenings are free and will be held at 7 p.m. Friday evenings in November in the Parish Hall at the Unitarian Society, 1535 Santa Barbara St. The featured films are:
» Nov. 2: Monsieur Lazhar (2012). An Algerian immigrant helps middle school students deal with the suicide of their former teacher while he comes to terms with his own tragic past and precarious present. French with English subtitles.
» Nov. 9: The Visitor (2007). When an emotionally stunted college professor finds undocumented workers in his apartment, he gets swept up in life for the first time. A moving tale of love, loss, change and renewal.
» Nov.16: Moonlight Mile (2002). After a couple loses their only child in a random shooting, they take in her financé. Each copes with grief in his/her own way and with surprising results. Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon and Jake Gyllenhaal star.
» Nov. 30: On Golden Pond (1981). Elderly, brusque English professor gains zest for life despite growing forgetfulness as he reconciles with his daughter. Features Jane Fonda and Oscar-winning performances by Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn.
According to 2011 participant Don Bushnell, films have the power to unlock suppressed memories.
“I didn’t realize I had blocked out the circumstances associated with my father’s death until I saw Departures, a film about an undertaker who takes pride in ushering souls out of this world,” Bushnell said. “Seeing that film led me to reexamine not only my father’s death but also his life, which was a profound experience for me.”
All screenings are free and advance reservations are not necessary. For more information, call 805.845.5314.
The Alliance for Living and Dying Well, a collaboration of Santa Barbara area agencies, seeks a seamless, compassionate continuum of end-of-life care. The alliance fosters learning and healing through discussions of our mortality, and it promotes practical planning, such as advance health care directives. For information about the alliance, call Plummer at 805.845.5314 or click here.
— Ann Pieramici is a publicist representing the Alliance for Living and Dying Well.