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Do the shortcomings of the old age care system in the US represent the collapse of neo-liberalism and the American dream? Our new writer Tiago Di Mauro reviews the featurette 'Care'

Who will take care of you when you get old? American film Care investigates a theme that is increasingly urgent on both sides of the Atlantic, as the population of both Europe and the US ages very quickly. More than 11.5 million Americans will be over the age of 85 by the year 2035.

The film denounces the failings of the American health system and the possibly apocalyptical consequences, in a Michael Moore-esque style. It also exposes the collapse of the neo-liberal model by showing irregularities in the American care system, and it sounds the alarm bells about the future of present-day adults. The profit-driven nature of home care organisations is also exposed. Finally, it raises an often-neglected issue: “why don’t we look after our elderly people?”

It follows three home carers from different backgrounds, including their personal lives and the relationship with their patients. Their stories are remarkably similar. On one side, patients struggle to keep up with the costs of home care. On the other, the carers battle to barely survive on very low wages. This gloomy scenario breaks the American dream into pieces.

Care reveals the strong bond between patients and carers, and how their strong relationship can help both sides to overcome their personal difficulties. The camerawork is straight-forward and simple; it seems that Deirdre Fishel does not want to romanticise the subjects of the movie. There is sensitivity and human dignity even in the most vulnerable moments. The powerful images and intimate confessions never feel exploitative. Fishel has a talent for rescuing human values.

Numerous facts and figures are named during the film, perhaps making this 64-minute featurette a better fit for TV than the cinema theatre.

Sadly, the film fails to point to any solutions, and it does not endorse any viable policies. Viewers are introduced to three ageing Americans and their dilemmas, and end up left with many questions and no answers.

Care will show at the next Sheffield Doc/Fest – click here for more information about the event and the film.

Watch the official movie trailer below:

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By Tiago Di Mauro - 03-06-2016

Based in London, Di Mauro is an experienced Director and Producer with extended training in Film Curating. He has worked in short films, documentaries, TV, adverts, web shows and music videos. In 2020...

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