First period: Algebra; second period: American History; third period: Hospice Care. If you are a student at the Harley School in Rochester, New York, this class schedule is not unusual. For 10 years, English teacher Bob Kane has offered Harley Hospice Corps as an elective for high school seniors wishing to comfort people at the end of their lives, whether by helping them bathe and get dressed or by simply sitting with them to listen to their stories. What might an iPhone-toting teenager have in common with an 85-year-old too weak to lift up a hand? Three-time Emmy-winning director Dave Marshall provides plenty of answers in this moving documentary about human connection, a film as earnest as it is openhearted. Marshall’s patient lens catches the subtle transformations of a face, whether of a dying woman looking back on her life or the girl who sits beside her, her own young expression just as vulnerable. “These people are very lovely,” and “are going to be here for a short time,” remarks a wise, soft-spoken student on whom one of the elderly hospice residents develops a “crush.” This film’s glimpses into lives both young and old may be brief, but their grace lingers.
West Coast Premiere