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"Kings Point" has some devastating senior moments

If you saw "Amour," the Oscar-winning film about aging, and left the film with the thought that getting old stinks, wait until you see "Kings Point," (9 tonight HBO), an Oscar nominee for best documentary short.

They are companion pieces. "Amour" gave a pull-no-punches look at failing health and caregiving. "Kings Point" looks at life in a retirement resort. Unlike other recent explorations of elderly complexes, this film isn't about how all the men are players (because the women are plentiful and the men aren't), although there's some of that. This film deals with the emotional difficulties of being alive when death lingers like a shadow.

Kings Point is a community in Florida that drew many from the Northeast during the 70s; at an affordable price, retired couples could get a piece of 'paradise.' But years later, some of those retirees have lost their spouses and their health has declined. Everything has changed. "Kings Point" focuses on five seniors in particular.

The film, just under 40 minutes, is saturated with loneliness. Widows and widowers want to find love again; others don't believe love at this age is possible, but they long for something like it anyway. Romantics relationships aren't the only ones lacking; friendships are superficial. No one wants to get too close because losing someone to death (again) is too difficult.

Going home to stay with children isn't much of an option either. If the kids aren't reluctant, they just have their own lives. And the seniors still have lives they want to live too.

One of the most moving stories in "Kings Point" is the friendship of Frank and Bea. Frank is upfront; he won't get romantically involved with Bea. Bea understands, but her silence on the matter is clearly laced with sorrow. Frank's position seems cruel because they act as a couple, spending New Year's Eve together, kissing (on the cheek) at midnight. The fullness of their story is told and it's devastating.

"Kings Point" shows that aging isn't easy, but it's partly because we, as a culture, have made it difficult. Our fear of death, our reluctance to age, our disdain of the elderly -- we've created the emptiness at the core of a Kings Point. Death can come before the end of life. Perhaps "Kings Point" can start a conversation and lead to some action.

Oscar-winning 'Saving Face' to debut tonight on HBO

The winner of this year's Academy Award for Best Documentary Short will debut on HBO tonight.

"Saving Face" is about a plastic surgeon, London-based Dr. Mohammad Jawad, who volunteers his services to help Pakistani women in his home country who have been permanently disfigured by acid attacks. This type of brutal attack is not uncommon in Pakistan, and those responsible (usually a husband or someone close to the victim) are typically given only minimal punishment for their crime.

The film focuses on the stories of two women: 39-year-old Zakia, whose husband threw acid on her after she filed for divorce, and 25-year-old Rukhsana, whose husband and in-laws threw acid and gasoline on her and set her on fire. 

Directors Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy follow Dr. Jawad as he helps these victims, who would otherwise have little or not access to reconstructive surgery, and also follows the push to enact new legislation that imposes stricter sentencing of perpetrators of acid attacks.

"Saving Face" will debut tonight at 8:30 p.m. on HBO.

Watch the trailer for the film below.

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