|August 9, 2011
This short documentary directed by Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari (for their “California is a place” project, which covers different aspects of the Golden State) is a charming and touching [...]
This short documentary directed by Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari (for their “California is a place” project, which covers different aspects of the Golden State) is a charming and touching portrait of elderly women practicing synchronized swimming. The film particularly focuses on 74-year-old Margo Bouer who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and nausea. She clearly is not your everyday senior: to fight the nausea she smokes medical marihuana and to ease the effects of Multiple Sclerosis she goes swimming with the “Aquadettes”.
“When I first started it, there were more of us and we were meeting every day. You know, just for the love of swimming and just fooling around and trying out new stunts”, Bouer recollects. “Aquadettes” not only takes place around the pool but follows Bouer, who has to use a walker and an electro-mobile through her daily life. “I don’t think about myself as an old person”, says Bouer, who also touches upon the suicide thoughts she had when her health started to take a turn for the worse. “It was staying alive versus killing myself.”
Elderly peoples’ worries about sickness and near death are still a taboo in today’s society; listening to what this charismatic, graceful woman has to say is a remarkable experience and makes this film very commendable and touching. The directors also manage to bring humour to the film, for example when they have the Aquadettes pose to the Beach Boys song “California Girls”.
Though the film picks Bouer for a closer portrayal, it also is about the importance of team work, about working together towards a common goal. When the women try new swimming choreographies you can clearly see the joy in their faces.
“Aquadettes” manages to tell more in its 10 minute running time than some other docs do in 90 minutes. A great film about not giving in to helplessness.
documentary.net says: A very touching and nicely photographed short.