'How to Live Forever' looks at health, longevity


POSTED: Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hawaii International Film Festival attendees should take note of a new documentary—submitted after deadline and therefore not part of the print program. “;How to Live Forever”; screens at 6 p.m. Sunday, and is an intriguing exploration of health and longevity by veteran filmmaker and photojournalist Mark Wexler, who will be available for a question-and-answer session following the screening.

The Los Angeles-based Wexler spent three years interviewing several dozen people over 100 years old (including the oldest woman, who was 115), and visiting “;longevity hot spots.”; Inspired by his mother's death and the arrival of his own AARP card, Wexler began contemplating the question in the minds of many people tiptoeing into middle age: “;Is this all there is? Will there be more?”; Throughout the film, he explores the benefits—or detriments—to society now that technology can extend human life significantly.

Everyone who lives a long time, and remains healthy doing it, is optimistic and possesses a sense of humor. “;A lot of it, in the end, is attitude,”; Wexler said from his home in Los Angeles. Indeed, your belief systems may have as much effect on your longevity as your cholesterol levels.

It's hard not to listen when 94-year-old fitness legend Jack Lalanne walks through his gym and says, “;This is where I take care of the most important person on this Earth ... me! I work out for two hours a day. Jack LaLanne can't afford to die; it would wreck my image!”; And later in the clip: “;The good old days are this second! Who makes it happen? You!”;

Learn more about the film at www.liveforevermovie.com ...

IN OTHER interesting festival news, actress Maggie Q will be honored with the festival's Maverick Award at 7 p.m. Sunday night before the closing night presentation and U.S. premiere of her film “;The Warrior and the Wolf”; (in Mandarin with English subtitles).

After growing up in Hawaii, Maggie Q pursued a modeling career in Hong Kong before moving on to feature films, where she's been able to showcase her beauty and aptitude for martial arts. For those unfamiliar with her work, she's shared the big screen with the likes of Hugh Jackman (”;Deception”;), Andy Lau (”;Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon”;), Bruce Willis (”;Live Free or Die Hard”;), Tom Cruise (”;Mission Impossible III”;) and Jackie Chan (”;Rush Hour 2”;).

There's also a party at Oceans 808 from 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. to close the festival Saturday night. A few general admission tickets are available at the door for $10 ...

Another HIFF film sure to garner plenty of attention when it's released later this year is “;The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,”; an adventure/fantasy/mystery slated for the Gala Presentation at 6:15 tomorrow night.

The cast is enough to attract a wide audience. With help from Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer and the late Heath Ledger, writer/director Terry Gilliam's tells the story Dr. Parnassus, who is capable of guiding other people's imaginations. Unfortunately, the doctor has made frightening deals with the devil.

HIFF programming director Anderson Le saw “;Imaginarium”; at the Cannes Film Festival and began negotiating with Sony Pictures Classics to screen it in Hawaii. Fortunately for Hawaii residents, producers hope to create word-of-mouth buzz before the movie's wide release.