There is a place in Arizona that is so peaceful that people go there to die: a retirement community in the middle of the desert, especially designed for senior citizens, with palm trees and bungalows, blue skies, red sunsets, an abundance of pharmacies and extra-wide streets for a comfortable ride in your golf cart!
Seen from Europe, Sun City seems like a utopian vision: a town designed on the drawing board that looks like some extra-terrestrial apparition. And yet, since 1963 it has been routine and everyday reality.
Fun! Fun! Fun! The bright lights flash: there is a punk band in the garage and a tap dance revue on the stage. The old punks call themselves “One Foot in the Grave” and the tap dancers radiate revue charm with undisguised pleasure in what they are doing instead of a perfect figure and blemish-free skin.
Aging is a condition where “aches and pains are part of the deal”, as Jim observes. On the other hand, you have reached a point in your life where you can just shrug and say: “Get over it or take a pill to make you feel good”. At least, that’s what Betty-Jane recommends. Everyone living here has to find his or her own way to deal with life while facing death: if you don’t have much time left, you can choose to make the best out of it. Jim sums it up nonchalantly: “We come to Sun City to die – but to have fun while doing it!”
It’s all about attitude. The residents of Sun City do not subscribe to the view that the last chapter of our lives has to be a solemn one. The town provides a stage on which the protagonists of the film perform the drama of old age as a metaphorical round dance. In telling their stories the residents reveal what they have gained – and lost – from life. They speak openly about the painful side of aging, as well as its pleasures. And they believe that being happy is a decision we can take.
- Susan Gluth
- Susan Gluth
- Xavier Box
- susan gluth
- Andreas Zitzmann
- Gerhard Schabel
This documentary circles around age and death in an entertaining, funny, absurd, reflecting and sad way at the same time. Not an intellectual approach. The film touches on a lot of important issues about aging, what it means to those who do, how they deal with it and how to age gracefully. And it shows how a utopian community, build specifically for the older generation may work – or not.
Before studying at the Academy of Film and Television in Munich in 1995, Susan joined practical training as a forest ranger, cook and a veterinarian in the 1980ies. After secondary school and studying business and commerce she went in 1990 for longer stays in Italy and France, developing her photographic skills and working in the advertising scene . Already at filmschool she produced, shot and directed several films that were shown at festivals worldwide as well as on TV. For example 1999 L’AMOUR CHEZ TATI (ZDF/ARTE), 2000 OSTWÄRTS (ARD), 2003 NULLA SI SA, TUTTO S’IMMAGINA ... SECONDO FELLINI (ARTE). After a festival screening in Milano the Corriere della sera was delighted: "Fellini wouldn't have done it better“. Susan's first feature film after filmschool was finalised 2006 SHADOWS OF FATE, A REFUGEE CHILDHOOD (BR/Telepool). The documentary was shot in Chad/Afrika in a refugee camp with Darfuri children running away from war in Sudan. The german press wrote: "Touching!“or „Africa without any cliches. After the film you understand what it means to be a refugee“. In 2008 SOAP AND WATER (ZDF, Kleines Fernsehspiel) was out. The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "In the very best neo-realist tradition of Vittorio De Sica and his magnificent testaments to the valor of unnoticed people." Following this film Susan decided to spent a year to learn about the distribution business. In 2009 she distributed SOAP AND WATER for theatrical release on 35mm prints. Already at filmschool up to date she works also as a freelance camera person for documentary films all around the world. Her next feature film URMILA - MY MEMORY IS MY POWER (Al Jazeera) as shot in Nepal. It was pre-listed for the german film award LOLA, premiered at Hot Docs and is awarded internationally. After more than 12 years of following the idea to GESTORBEN WIRD MORGEN the film is ready by 2018.