“A rose is a rose is a rose…” Love can happen at any age and, as the German film Cloud 9 sensitively and realistically shows, so can lust…followed by passionate sex.
Inge is a sixty-seven year old woman—not Sophia Loren or Jane Fonda at sixty-seven, but Ursula Werner—short, flabby, and liver-spotted, with a plain, pudding face, thinning hair and a decided lack of eyebrows. Inge, leads a quiet life with Werner (Horst Rehberg), her quieter husband of thirty years. To earn pocket money, Inge does small tailoring jobs.
One day, in a completely uncharacteristic move, she goes out of her way to deliver a finished garment to an attractive seventy-six year old client, Karl (Horst Westphal) and very clearly comes on to him. They have sex and begin a halting affair. Inge tries to resist the pull of her new lover. She’s visibly and viscerally torn. We feel it acutely. Her devotion to and regard for her husband seems undiminished. But the new man, Karl, offers an enthusiastic and lively participation in life that Inge doesn’t find at home. Then there’s the great sex. Not surprisingly, Inge falls in love.
The film is believable and moving. There’s much less dialogue than one might expect, especially in such a fraught situation. (The film is in German with subtitles). We feel the range of emotions being felt by the characters—tension, expectation, guilt, regret, tenderness, and joy.
Anyone who has ever wondered whether the elderly can enjoy a healthy sex life, will have no doubt after this film, directed by Andreas Dresen. The elderly bodies are shown with full-frontal, non-judgmental nudity (no actual sex, of course), that may be off-putting at first, but in the end, is courageous, and in its way, both beautiful and touching.
Cloud 9, with a running time of 98 minutes, in German, with subtitles is now playing at Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street, 212-924-3363.