This is the story of an old woman, who is spending the last years of her
life attended by a nurse, who has a special liking to the feisty old lady.
The old lady is independent, a true lover of nature, despite
her really sad story in the middle of the war. And as usual, the old lady
has her squabbles with the landlord, and the son, until he realizes that the
old lady is right.
In the meantime, the old lady is up to her enjoyable adventures during the
day, which as it really turns out, are her escapes from the horrible events
which she has endured. But it doesn't matter, she has a liking for helping
people, and even has a boyfriend, and wants the nurse to make sure they make
love in her bed after she dies. And of all the oddities, she smokes, not
because she is nervous, but because she loves it, and a restaurant owner
gets the brunt of her opinion on the matter and that is that.
One day she falls, is taken to the hospital, and found out to have cancer,
with a very probable chance of survival three months at best. She promises
a young nurse to be out of the hospital, and does get out, because she can
do all the exercises in the ward, and has earned the nickname of rabbit.
She wants to go back to her apartment, but the landlord is playing jerk.
But he has to give in because the old lady has something over him, a certain
ability to put him in the right place. And there she does die, with one
last shot of morphine..... you must keep the love alive.....
What the film does not say afterwards, is that this old lady, Sheila
Florance, won the Australian Oscar last year, and a week later died of
cancer. The film was her crowning achievement in a lifelong dedication to
an artform that she believed to the very end. Even in the process of
playing a character, this old woman still sits naked on a bathtub, where she
has her memories of the horrible past.
And if you don't come out of this film with a tear in your eye, shame on you
is what Sheila is going to say. There are some truly funny moments...
talking about aging, and how the bird is seven years
old ( quite old for a bird ) and the sucker doesn't have a single grey
feather..... and many other moments which really shake one's heart. In the
meantime she tries to save someone else from suicide
over the radio, and even manage to help many of her aged friends, who really
have lost the desire to live, which she definitely has not.
It is not only difficult to do something like this, it is also a magnanimous
gesture, and the director should be commended for this very beautiful film.
It's hard to tell where the film ends and the real Sheila starts, but it
doesn't matter. It all fits in together so tightly woven, so pretty, that
there aren't enough tapestries in life that look this good and cry the creed
of love so clearly, as this film does....................
Copyright © 1994 Pedro Sena