Bertha Davis and Lillian Ross are new roommates getting to know each other in a scene from And the Home of the Brave.
Photo by Sandy Stillman
A look at intimacy and aging
An interview with Judith Keller
The idea is that important relationships affect us in our daily lives, no matter what our ages. When those relationships don't exist, we feel lonely and unfulfilled. When they do exist, conflicts sometimes arise. Nursing home residents are no different, except that their immediate environment limits their choices.
The film is also about residents' strengths and their losses, their rights, and the realities of living
in an institutional setting.
Everybody is doing his or her best under difficult circumstances.
You see what works and what doesn't work.
And there is humor.
I believe very much in putting humor in all of my work.
There are no villains and no heroes. Residents struggle to maintain control over their lives and caregivers strive to provide humane care.
I think there is just enough humor in the film for residents and staff to recognize themselves comfortably.
So I thought there was a need to focus on older women, and this led me to explore the nursing home setting where women, after all, are in the majority. I wrote the screenplay for Rose by Any Other Name, which looks at issues of sexuality and nursing home residents.
Rose by Any Other Name, a drama about sex in the nursing home...
Rose by Any Other Name, a drama about sex in the nursing home, was produced in the 1970s, and the sad part is that it is still valid today. Things have not changed all that much, except that people are more willing to discuss these issues now.
Nursing home residents have little control over their daily lives and so little privacy that it's difficult for them to maintain their dignity if they are having an intimate relationship. Everybody knows about it. And with so few men available, it sometimes sets up a competitive atmosphere.
...Important relationships affect us in our daily lives no matter what our ages.
It's a very complex issue. The film always triggers enormous amounts of discussion.
Judith Keller, RN, BS, is a writer, nurse, producer of films and videos, and most recently, a playwright. Her films and videos have aired on National Public Television, CBS, cable TV, and are distributed internationally. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the American Society on Aging Media Award, Editor's Choice from the American Library Association, and recognition at the American Journal of Nursing Media Festival, and the American Film Festival. Keller has written on topics of aging for national media outlets.