Arab cinema has traditionally portrayed older people as frail, dependent subjects often suffering neglect or abuse. In ‘Habib’ we observe a model of successful ageing in the happily married older couple Nadia (Salwa Mohamed Ali) and Habib (Sayed Ragab). In the short span of 22 minutes, writer- director Shady Fouad dissects the determinants of their well being via a bio-psycho-social lens.
For Habib, functional activity and job satisfaction, as a barber, in a supportive environment reiterates the notion of ‘ageing in place’.
Intergenerational bonds and societal values of respect and love for older people are evident contributors to ‘ageing well’. We follow the couple’s life course journey through events that were intricately linked to popular films and music of their younger years.
When a crisis hits, revisiting happy memories becomes Habib’s coping strategy through which he maintains his ‘emotional resilience’.