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Zen Movies: A Recommendation, #3

These are not recommendations of movies about Buddhism, but rather ones about the human condition, the lives of ordinary people, though every life, when viewed deeply, is extraordinary. As Deshan (ninth century Chan master and curmudgeon extraordinaire  is quoted as saying: “What is known as ‘realizing the mystery’ is nothing but breaking through to grab an ordinary person’s life”.

This week’s film recommendation is the delightful “Young@Heart”, a documentary on a chorus of senior citizens from Massachusetts who cover songs by Jimi Hendrix, Coldplay, Sonic Youth, and other unexpected musicians. Here’s some of what their web site ( says about the film: “Time revises every taste and closes every gap. To observe the Young@Heart Chorus, a fluctuating group of about two dozen singers whose average age is 80, perform “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees in Stephen Walker’s documentary “Young@Heart” is to be uplifted, if slightly unsettled. Sung by people approaching the end of their lives, the song is no longer about strutting through the urban jungle with your elbows out; it is a blunt survival anthem. These singers, most of them well- rehearsed amateurs, refuse to go gently into that good night. For them music is oxygen. When they perform punk classics like “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by the Clash or “I Wanna Be Sedated” by the Ramones, the notion of a generation gap begins to crumble.” This is one not to miss and is available for streaming on Netflix.