Seven Songs for a Long Life

Great Britain 2015. Dir: Amy Hardie. 82 min. Blu-ray Disc

A hospice isn’t usually a place associated with music, but Strathcarron Hospice, near Glasgow, is a bit unusual. “More life in your days” is their motto, and this remarkable documentary, filmed over four years, is a testament to that maxim. The film details the journeys of six people who utilize the daycare services at Strathcarron, where they are encouraged by a dedicated (and very musical!) nurse who uses singing as a fundamental part of the coping process. Songs by Sinatra, Sting, Cass Elliott, REM, and others become the soundtrack for the lives of Tosh, Dorene, Julie, Nicola, Iain, and Alicia; Nicola’s rendition of “Everybody Hurts” is sure to bring even the most jaded audience member to tears. But be assured: this is not a typically depressing movie about death. Rather, it’s a celebratory film about making the most of (the rest of) your life, told with equal parts humour and humanism.

Post-screening discussion with Dr. Romayne Gallagher, a physician in the Palliative Care Program at Providence Health Care and a Clinical Professor in the Division of Palliative Care at UBC; Kelly Konyk RN, BSN, St. John Hospice, UBC Campus; and Ingrid See RN, MSN, VCH Nancy Chan Palliative Care Ambulatory Clinic.

Moderated by Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia.

 

REVIEWS

★★★★ "This incredibly moving documentary is all the more affecting because of the unsentimental way it’s told."

Guardian | full review