Age is nothing but a number where sexual biology is concerned

Article published on Nov. 22, 2008
Article published on Nov. 22, 2008
In Seventh Heaven The human body is 70% water. With age, this percentage gradually decreases - we dehydrate, we waste away, we get older. Growing old is biological. However, it seems that society wants us to believe that from a certain age, we no longer have the right to savour or be in touch with our most intimate sexual feelings and desires.
Thanks then to directors like Andreas Dresen for his ground-breaking audiovisual offerings which manage to portray sex in later life without dogmatism. protagonist is a woman who is over 60 and has been married for 30 years. She falls in love with a 76-year-old man and starts an illicit affair. Dresen avoids puritan sentimental celluloid while framing the naked bodies of wrinkled, ageing people, but they're sexy all the same. An awkward encounter, hindered by stiff joints, but profound and sincere nonetheless. In an era where audiovisual images are dominated by eternal adolescents, beautiful and brilliant, no more than 35 years old, the German director offers us orgasms that are nearly octogenarian as well as the odd impotent moment.

EN_EL_S_PTIMO_CIELO.jpgIn Seventh Heaven's

However, the controversial commentary doesn't end there. The film's eroticism makes us wonder why a woman over 60 who has been married for 30 years doesn't have the right to fall in love again and start over. Some might say it's because she doesn't have much time left. Others might say that even if she did have time, she's not silly little girl and she has to remain true to her husband, children and grandchildren. The director gets the cogs in our brain turning again by asking if it's maybe because this woman isn't seen as anything beyond a wife, mother and grandmother who isn't entitled to live outwith those labels? This question is what sustains the film for its duration. The interesting thing is that this woman isn't acting unconsciously - she loves both her husband and her lover and doesn't want to harm anyone. Even just the title suggests that we don't have to wait to die in order to enjoy true paradise; perhaps paradise is living here and now without time and numbers that instill such prejudice.

In Seventh Heaven

Paola García Costas

Translated by

Jessie L