The purpose of life is to increase the warm heart - Dalai Lama
I love documentaries. I love them the way Dutch people love birthday calendars in their bathrooms. The way Parisians love strikes. I love them the way Dan Brown loves italics.
With that in mind, it seemed fitting to see Love Etc as my first movie at this year's IDFA.
It's year 23 of the International Documentary Film Festival, year two for me at this great 10-day cinematic smorgasbord. The full program is immense - over 250 films, with 10 days and four locations throughout the city. Each film is either done in English or has English subtitles.
So with limited time and only two eyeballs, how does one choose which ones to see? You look for some award winners and some with topics of interest (last year's Rainbow Warriors of Waiheke Island is still clearly in my mind).
Love Etc follows a number of people in various stages of relationships in New York City. An elderly couple with the wife suffering from the early stages of dementia, a young Indian couple getting married, a divorced blue-collar single dad, a gay single man about to adopt baby twins, and a pair of 18-year olds. It's filled with the requisite NYC sights, energy and authenticity, and each profile makes you think about your own relationships. Check out the trailer here.
Herbstgold (Autumn Gold) is about several men and women from parts of Europe (Austria, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic) preparing for and competing in the track and field World Masters Championships in Finland. The catch? The youngest person featured is 84, and the oldest is 100. It follows their lives, their relationships (most of them have lost a husband or wife) and their training. It's an incredible movie - touching, funny, wrinkled, and inspiring. The trailer is here.
If you're looking to get off the couch, think, or just increase the warm heart, catch both movies and see the way Albert and Marion still treat each other after 48 years of marriage, and how a 100-year-old discus thrower spends his training time.