Hot Docs 2021: “It is Not Over Yet”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The cycle of life starts with birth and ends with death. How it ends, where and under what circumstances it ended are details that the universe, I doubt, would be interested in. It is us, humans, who are interested in stories. It boosts our energy, gives us hope that we are still too young to worry about our inevitable end. However, it is that end that has the power to write the final chapter of our life; slowly, subtly, carefully, as if it was a master class of death performing its last dance for us.

From director Louise Detlefsen, “It Is Not Over Yet” is the story that we all must learn about. It takes us to a small nursing home in Denmark that has an outstanding approach towards elderly people. Refusal to unnecessarily medicate them, providing only hugs and cocktails are used as the main treatment for the elderly with dementia. Every day is filled with joy, love and beautiful nature. The staff of the nursing home are as kind as they could get. They create a warm atmosphere in which its eleven residents can live within, be happy and worry about nothing.

Almost like it was a horror film, in the beginning, you see how the staff and the residents sing a song to one of their mates that passed away. As the coffin exits the premise, it will make a few more appearances throughout the film to remind us – it is where we all will end up. And that’s the power of this film, it brings us closer to the realization that our body won’t stay young longer. Our health will decline at some point and as we age, we may be checked into one of the nursing homes that will or may not provide the same care you see in “It Is Not Over Yet”.

Inspired by the methods introduced by Florence Nightingale 150 years ago, as well as Danish philosopher Løgstrup, ‘Compassion Treatment’. May Bjerre Eiby, who founded a controversial nursing home known as Dagmarsminde, believes in humour, eye contact, gentle touch and the sound of nature as the way to treat elderlies. As you watch her, you realize how important it is to give the residents the most loving and nurturing environment where they can feel needed, loved and respected.

That said, “It Is Not Over” is an absolutely beautiful film you certainly must check out. It is sad and funny but never boring. Not even a little. It’s focused on the life under the roof of Dagmarsminde, their way of providing care and showing how crucial it is to do everything possible for older people to live the last stage of their life in serenity. All that we can do is provide support, give them a hand and brace for our own future, so we can be better prepared for the new transition in life.

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