Aging Gracefully: Adventure Begins When you Take the First Step | 2015 Dallas International Film Festival—April 9-19

Aging Gracefully: Adventure Begins When you Take the First Step

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by Megan Carder
DIFF Writer

The inevitability of life is something that follows all of us. Whether it’s a near death experience or just the sheer realization of your own mortality, the stark fact that there’s an end to this life can be scary. And the funny thing about fear is that it has a way of influencing how we move forward. Four films at this year’s DIFF that take a look, rather comically, into the different ways in which people cope with the looming fate of growing old.


In Alvero Brechner’s comedy MR. KAPLAN, viewer’s follow Jacob Kaplan (Hector Noguera) as he struggles with the idea of reaching the end of life without a legacy. After losing his driver’s license, Jacob is mortified by the thought of relying on Wilson (Nestor Guzzini), the driver his son has hired for him. While much younger than Jacob, Wilson, a loveable, sudo-alcoholic and ex-police officer, is also struggling to find a purpose for his life. The two become an unlikely pair when they decide to embark on an unmerited mission to find and capture a secret Nazi living in Uruguay… or so they think.

Brechner has audiences chuckling as they watch this misguided duo analyze clues, create outlandish scenarios, and search for fulfilment in all the wrong places.


After receiving a large inheritance, the lead in Andrea Bujalski’s RESULTS, Danny (Kevin Corrigan), should be happy. The problem is, after a brutal divorce, and a less than exciting life, he’s reached his golden years lonely and unsatisfied. In an impromptu decision to get fit, Danny meets personal trainers Kat (Colbie Smulders) and Trever (Guy Pearce) and a new chapter in Danny’s life begins.

Bujalski describes Danny as “an unlikely client, a divorced stoner who has stumbled into money and has no idea how to spend it, except, as he figures well-off people do, on this brand of ‘self- improvement.’

“Lord knows I am surrounded by such self-improvement culture here in Austin, and I have always viewed it with a mixture of admiration and snarky skepticism. I saw a lot of humor in the culture and in the trainer/client relationships.”

Although Danny’s journey begins with work out equipment, sweat, and yes, a lot of trainer/client humor, Danny soon realizes he’s truly on a journey toward understanding that he has much more life to live.


In 5 FLIGHTS UP a retired couple find themselves suddenly at a crossroads when they begin to consider moving out of the apartment they’ve lived in for over 40 years. Alex (Morgan Freeman) and Ruth (Claire van der Boom) have lived a happy, content life and now – beyond the point they ever thought they’d be facing adventure – change is looming.

“This film is quite poignant to me,” says Director Richard Loncraine. “It’s about the fact that you can suddenly decide, if you’re lucky, that the end of your life doesn’t have to be a steady decline…This weekend is about [the couple] winding up again; finding a new departure.” 

Over the course of 48 hours, Loncraine ushers viewers through both the couples’ past and present in this endearing tale about embracing life and facing what’s next.


In Tom Browne’s film, RADIATOR, viewers follow Leonard (Richard Johnson) and Maria (Gemma Jones), an elderly couple living in the English countryside as they cope with, avoid, and argue about their future. Leonard has chosen to surrender to the inevitable, finding himself bed ridden and fully dependent on the help of others, while Maria puts herself into overdrive, avoiding the idea of becoming elderly at all.

When their son Daniel (Daniel Cerqueira) comes to visit, he quickly realizes that both mindsets are faulty and that his parent’s once organized life is falling into chaos. Touching on the joy of memories, the bond of family, and the fear of inevitability, RADIATOR leaves audiences contemplating how life should be lived.

Relatable, contemplative, funny and honestly entertaining, all four films remind viewers that life is what you make of it; and that adventure truly can be at every turn.




L.M. Kit Carson (Posthumously)
Lone Star State legend and influential writer, actor and producer Carson first gained recognition as creator of the mockumentary, DAVID HOLZMAN’s DIARY (1968), and co-wrote PARIS, TEXAS (1984).

Blythe Danner
Danner is well regarded for her roles in films such as MEET THE PARENTS and THE GREAT SANTINI. The Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-nominated actress is alos know for her work on television shows such as Will & Grace and Huff.

John Landis
A director for more than 40 years, Landis' films include NATIONAL LAMPOON’S ANIMAL HOUSE (1980), THE BLUES BROTHERS (1978) and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981).

Learn more about the honorees

Presented by REEL FX

Phil Lord and Chris Miller
are the prolific writing and directing duo behind some of today’s most successful comedy films including, THE LEGO MOVIE, 21 & 22 JUMP STREET and CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS.

Learn more about the honorees


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