In her preview of the films selected for the 10th annual Anchorage International Film Festival, Dayna Papaleo reviewed Old People Driving.
Excerpted from “Festival Films,” Thursday, December 2, 2010:
Ninety-seven years old at the time of filming the bittersweet portrait Old People Driving (Wed 12/8, 5:45 p.m., Out North Theatre), Milton Cavalli tells granddaughter and filmmaker Shaleece Haas that he’s been driving for 89 years. Sure, he’s a little on the creaky side, but Milton seems as fine-tuned as the Model Ts he tools around. (Grandma Marie reports their long-ago first date in a Model T consisted of nine flat tires.) On the flip side is 99-year-old Herbert Bauer; he tells us that he will be relinquishing the keys to his car when he turns 100 in a week, and once we see him about to pull out in front of an oncoming car, we decide that’s probably a good idea.
In the wake of the horrific 2003 tragedy where a flustered 86-year-old driver caused ten deaths at a Santa Monica open-air market, Old People Driving takes an objective yet personal look at one of today’s hot-button topics: If people are considered too young to handle the responsibilities of driving, shouldn’t being too old come into play as well? Haas offers up statistics and speaks to experts on the subject of elderly drivers, but it’s Milton and Herbert who put faces and feelings to the topic. Milton claims that he’ll know when it’s time to stop, while Herbert transcends ego for the safety of himself and others, tacitly acknowledging his looming mortality.