Why two young Swiss filmmakers should chose to make their debut documentary on a retirement home for very wealthy seniors in Florida’s Coral Gables, totally escapes me. But this is what they did, and in their intriguing profile they set out to prove that all that glitters is gold one way or another.
Aptly named The Palace this large imposing building has main interiors look something like the public rooms on the Titanic but just a tad grander. Most of the 200 + residents are wealthy Jews, some widowed, and some still married …… and even a couple of gay men thrown in for good measures. The concept of the Palace is to provide its residents with the same high quality lifestyle that they enjoyed before retiring,
That, and making a healthy profit for The Palace’s owners.
It is kind of like an-all-inclusive vacation where everything is paid like for ……like the nightly Cocktail Party …. and the extravagent meals.
The extravert Social Director, who is prone to burst into song with only a little prodding, slants all the leisure activities to encompass Jewish customs and traditions. Although some of the fancy-dress parties are more akin to what are children’s activities. Like everything that goes on in these gilt colored marbled rooms, it is all about pampering the guests every whim.
Some of them admitted to a sense of loneliness when they first arrived, but filmmakers Beat Oswald and Samuel Weniger are intent of showing how very happy they all are. Despite their advanced ages, the film avoids any hint of illness or demise, even though it is in the forefront of so many of the residents Maybe like the fake flowers everywhere we should believe that they last for ever.
A team of Japanese developers are seen looking ver the building as they have plans to replicate The Palace globally to meet what they see as a future massive demands, They tell their hosts that the some what considerably fees the residents are charged are still too cheap.
Oswald & Wenger’s film is probably far too respectful fo its own good as it is careful not to make any comment on any of the excesses of life at The Palace. So much so it could actually serve as a perfect recruitment advert for the place. The picture they paint is all shiny and new as it profiles the elderly population bedecked in all their jewels and finery as they party to the end.
Kudos to their editor & cinematographer for some unexpected excellent imagery that made us occasionally think we were taking an acid trip rather partying with a bunch of seniors