London cockney Buster Martin is one of the stars of the entertaining, illuminating documentary, “How To Live Forever.” Filmed when he was 101 (he died at the age of 104), Buster works, runs marathons, chain smokes fags (cigarettes), drinks beer daily, and adds, “I don’t drink water.” And he says, “I ain’t like you normal people.”
Released on DVD in 2012, the documentary by Mark Wexler, the son of acclaimed cinematographer Haskell Wexler, visits a number of fascinating older folks, while covering the emerging science of anti-aging medicine, life-changing dietary efforts, and a trip to a cryonics facility where they freeze dead bodies until the time when various cures are discovered.
We meet fitness guru Jack LaLanne, who at 94 is still vibrant through diet and exercise; a 94-year-old heart surgeon who still loves his job; and former Disney animator Tyrus Wong, 98, who prefers solitude and flies stunning, complex kites (which he builds) on the beach at Santa Monica. And we meet sparkling Eleanor Wasson, a 100 year old vegetarian who drinks vodka every night, and wrote the book “Twenty Eight Thousand Martinis,” based on her love of a martini a day.
Other revelations include a journey to Okinawa, where life expectancy is among the highest in the world, and heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure are rare. Their anti-oxidant rich, calorie-restricted diet features limited fish, almost no meat, eggs, or dairy, and large quantities of seaweed and vegetables. And they keep active working into their 90s.
While life-extension expert Aubrey de Grey talks about the imminent possibility of living for hundreds of years, author Pico Iyer adds some wisdom. “We’ve all been dealt these cards,” he says. “Our job is to play with them rather than to demand a new deal.”