A Century of Living (HBO Films, 2002) is an absolutely amazing documentary. My television provider gave me free HBO for one year so I came across a replay of this sixty minute feature a few weeks ago and recorded it. If you ever get the opportunity watch it. (You can rent if from Netfilx or even find it in some free loan libraries.)
Seventeen men and women, all born in 1900 or before, share their poignant and life-affirming thoughts about the 20th century. Mixing indelible black-and-white film and photographic images with the words of a cross-section of men and women, the film spans key epochs and trends of the last 100 years, underscoring the fact that while the quality of our lives has changed so much over the past 100 years, the essence of our spirit has remained, essentially, the same.
This documentary allowed me to “meet” people who actually lived through the Great Depression and who celebrated the end of World War I. While we talk about the N1H1 flu I wonder if any of us realizes that not too long ago people died from an influenza epidemic in large numbers. Here you will see and hear people talk about Charles Lindbergh and the invention of the automobile as well as share their personal stories of landmarks like marriage, family, dating and loss. The entire portrait is a compelling account of an unforgettable century.
Produced by Jean Abounader (the 1986 HBO film "Down and Out in America," winner of the Documentary Features Oscar) and directed by Abounader and Imre Horvath, this exclusive HBO documentary special is one of the most moving pieces of twentieth century history I have ever seen on film. I felt like I sat at the feet of a great generation and learned just how much some things have changed and some have not. I would show this to my children and grandchildren if you can find it.