Young at Heart: Discussion
- EILEEN HALL (92). Why begin the film with a scene of Eileen singing at a concert—and then an interview segment with Eileen?
- STAN GOLDMAN (76) Why Stan? What makes him stand out? What direct cinema scenes stand out—consider, for example, his rehearsals of the James Brown number, scenes of him at home working on the James Brown number.
- JOE BENOIT (83). We see him first in scene 6 rehearsing one of the songs, then riding with Lenny, rehearsing (perfectly) the song “Life During Wartime” in scene 12, featured on the poster in scene 18, Joe in the hospital, Joe’s phone call to Bob Cilman.
- LENNY FONTAINE (86). What scenes with Lenny stand out? Consider the scenes of him driving (with Joe & Eileen), rehearsals—with him blanking out, his list of activities, his birthday scene.
- FRED KNITTLE (80). He is introduced in scene 8. Your first impressions? We see him again in scene 16 (where we meet his wife). How did that scene further develop his character? Consider Fred’s eulogy—which he recites at his kitchen table, his performance in concert.
- BOB SALVINI (75). He is introduced in scenes 9-10. We see him again in scene 17. What were your impressions of his character and his role in the documentary? In scene 18 we see his wife (a 2 nd time) talking about his health crisis.
- STEVE MARTIN (77). He is introduced in scene 13. What makes him such a character?
MUSICAL DIRECTOR: BOB CILMAN
- What was your first impression of Bob Cilman in scene 2?
- One of the first things Bob says about this group is “they are in tune with the words.” As you reflect on later scenes, showing the performances, how did those performances color your understanding of his comment?
- The more you watched Bob Cilman interact with the choir, what in your estimation was the secret to his success? Can you think of some words that would characterize his relationship with the choir and members of the choir?
- Notice the rough rehearsals in scenes 12 and 15. Why do they contribute to the documentary? What do these scenes reveal about Bob Cilman’s character and sense of purpose as choir director?
THE MUSIC VIDEOS
Here is a list of the music videos done by the choir that are sampled in the documentary:
- Scene 5, a montage of choir members singing “I want to be sedated.”
- Scene 14, a montage of “Golden Years.”
- Scene 19, a montage of “On the Road to Nowhere.”
- Scene 29, a montage of “Stayin’ Alive.”
What are these music videos doing in the documentary? Consider their placement with regard to adjacent scenes.
Discuss the key DIRECT CINEMA scenes: Bob Salvini’s return (scene 10), the prison performance (scenes 22-23), Scene 31, woman singing sad song right after we learned of Joe Benoit’s death, and the CLIMAX—the big concert of the “Alive and Well” tour!
Film resource written by Robert Yahnke
Copyright, Robert E. Yahnke, © 2009
Professor, Univ. of Minnesota
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