DC Shorts Film Festival and Screenwriting Competition

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Senescent Shorts: Exploring the Motif of Aging in Film

This year, the subject of aging was a particularly prevalent theme in the Festival’s short film selection.  Two films of interest not only extend this motif in their films, but also incorporate specific cultural influence to senescence.

The first of these films is Obake (Ghosts), featured in Showcase 4, which avails the ubiquitous burden of death to shape a story that implements both Japanese and Hawaiian influences.  The film’s creator, Christopher Yogi, cites his main source of inspiration for the film to be the death of his grandfather and his “personal experience of death in the family.”  Yogi strived to capture some of his own experience in this film that depicts a dying man’s moments of reflection and vivid recollections of life in his youth.

“Watching someone pass away, that moment when they are both here and not here, dreaming and awake, is such a powerful, profound experience. I wanted to make a film that captured that feeling — sad, haunting and beautiful.”

Yogi references the Japanese phrase mono no aware, “the awareness of the transience of things,” as the film’s “guiding principle.”  The director also wished to pay homage to the Hawaiian people with the production of this film,

“I made this film for the people of Hawaii. And to honor the 2nd generation Japanese Americans, my grandparents’ generation, who really built Hawaii into the place that it is today.”


Furet, Innbitt (Ideologies) of Showcase 12, employs perhaps the antithetical tact to depict coping with aging.  The film’s writer and director, Norweigian, Jarl Omestad, took a topic that sparked his own interest, the ideological battle of the Cold War—Liberalism versus Communism—and developed it into his film’s comedic concept.  Omestad explains his inspiration,

“I started to play with the thought of forcing persons filled up with different ideological values together in a public institution, and the nursing home was perfect. But I decided to settle this universe in a Norwegian nursing home.”

The film centers on the imaginative battles of two WWII veterans living in a group nursing home.  The “old and stubborn men fight as if they were 20 years old,” Omestad says, but in the end they realize their eccentric, yet genuine friendship, despite their staunch opposing beliefs.  Of the film’s amusing charm, Omestad says, “It is a story and a situation that perhaps makes people think getting old is not a big deal after all, on the contrary it can be a very playful part of life.”


Omestad succeeds in his aim to take “satirical look at the 1900’s and the Cold War,” with the humorous depiction of “two old men play[ing] out warfare in a nursing home corridor.”

These films, in addition to the many others that relay the motif of aging, are sure to be appreciated by audiences young and old for their poignancy and relevance.


By:  Hadley Fielding


The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Copyright 2012 DC Shorts/DC Film Alliance

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