Seven Songs For A Long Life

Directed by Amy Hardie

Seven Songs For A Long Life still

UK, 2015, 82 min, in English

SHORT

The intimate story behind our changing relationship with death. A terminal diagnosis used to mean death within months. Modern medicine allows patients to live on for years. A passionate and touching film about uncertainty, about the future that faces all of us, following five patients who choose to sing their way through life. With a score by Mark Orton.

LONG

From the moment Tosh refuses to fill in his assessment form and serenades us with a remarkably good Sinatra song, this documentary grabs life through song. Six hospice patients allow us into tender, vulnerable and funny moments of their lives. Singing unlocks the patients' pasts, guides their dreams and their futures. Encouraged by one nurse who loves to sing, and a collaborative filming process, they wrestle with the new insecurity facing us all: recent advances in biomedicine mean we can now live for years rather than months after a terminal diagnosis. Sometimes. But not every time. How do we cope with this uncertainty?

Strathcarron’s patients are quirky, wry front-runners in a journey that we will all face. Each patient deals with enormous change during the three years of filming. As they go through the little and big dramas of trying to make a will, medicating pain, finding a guardian for a child and moving house, we see the growing relationship between staff and patient, patient and patient. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to help face your own mortality, making the process of dying itself safe, individual, and as gentle as possible.