How to Live Forever*
May 12, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica
* Results may vary
I love the premise: take off on a global trek to interview the world’s oldest people, top health and fitness gurus, and smartest life-extension scientists, and ask one question: what’s your secret?
In How To Live Forever, a new film from Variance Films (opening in New York Friday May 13 and L.A. May 20), producer/director Mark Wexler (Seeing Double, Me & My Matchmaker, Air Force One on PBS-National Geographic) does just that. Ya gotta love Buster, a 101-year-old chain-smoking, beer-drinking marathoner in London, Marge Jetton, a 104-year-old iron-pumping Seventh-day Adventist in Loma Linda, California, and Edna Ruth Parker, 115, the then-oldest person in the world, in Indiana.
“There was something exquisitely moving about being in the presence of all my elderly subjects,” says Wexler. “These were people who’d lived through turbulent times and faced great adversity, yet no matter where they were or what their background, they all shared remarkable grace, humor, and resilience.”
Wexler goes into the operating room with Dr. Ellsworth Wareham, a 94-year-old cardiothoracic surgeon. On the other side of the world, Dr. Craig Willcox, gerontologist and Co-Principal Investigator of the Okinawan Centenarian Study, explains how the Okinawan people live longer by consuming a low-calorie, high-nutrient diet and maintaining their daily activities such as walking, gardening and traditional dance.
Among the dozens of interesting people appearing in the film are Ray Bradbury, Aubrey de Grey, Suzanne Somers, Phyllis Diller, John Robbins, Jack LeLanne, Roy Walford, Willard Scott, and Ray Kurzweil, and the Gerontology Research Group (GRG), the definitive source for information on the world’s oldest living people. And as a backup, Wexler visits Alcor, a cryonics lab where patients are preserved after death in the hopes of being reanimated in a more medically advanced era.
This film’s definitely on my must-see list.