- If you are wondering how you might live forever - as in perhaps 500 years longer - than filmmaker Mark Wexler
has probably answered some of those musings by offering a myriad of options in "How To Live Forever" which premiered at the 17th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF).
Wexler's impetus for this particular subject matter appears borne from the devastating loss of his mother - an accomplished artist - as well as having faced 50 in the face himself. This film is full of the clever, expensive, inexpensive, thought-provoking and maybe just plain foolish ways we as humans have battled immortality.
Director Mark Wexler.
Traveling from Las Vegas to Okinawa to Iceland, and numerous locales in between, the California-residing Wexler has stated "I have always been drawn to stories of the human connections that define us. The death of my mother and the arrival of my own AARP card led me to examine the most fundamental human connection of all - to life itself. Making 'How To Live Forever' allowed me to connect those lessons to the ultimate question of what makes a life truly meaningful."
An unusual discovery revealed in the film is that people live longer in both Okinawa and, in particular, men live longer in Iceland. During his pursuit to find answers to an ancient question, Wexler interviews some rather charming 'elders' including Jack LaLanne
, Phyllis Diller
and Ray Bradbury
, among others, as well as those simply refusing to acknowledge age including Suzanne Somers
, and biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey
whose theories are as equally disturbing as they are encouraging.
The usual and not so usual avenues people explore such as chili dogs, fitness and exercise regiments, dietary, hormone supplements and active sex lives, as well as a visit to a hyperbaric chamber and cryonics pod, are among some of the adventures Wexler leads the viewer on. In addition, he refreshingly does focus on the importance of humor, companionship, family, faith and love that may or may not offer longevity assistance.
"How To Live Forever" is Wexler's fourth film, and he is also a highly respected photojournalist, and world traveler. This is a truly interesting film that many may find unsettling due to its subject matter, however, without revealing too much, Wexler may have stumbled on a way to vent his own personal grief in a manner that addresses concerns for all of us.
Personally, I was impressed with the lovely French woman who lived to 122 years of age - she smoked, drank wine and loved chocolate, and for those of you whose arthritis is not acting up - this filmmaker certainly does deserve a standing ovation.
Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.