Paul Cox's poignant 1991 Australian film is about old age, illness and the often thoughtless ways societies treat the elderly. Yet there's nothing sentimental or depressive about it. There's a lightness to its style, a buoyancy that balances pathos and helps give the film a powerful aftereffect. The movie focuses on the last months of an engaging septuagenarian named Martha (played by then-75-year-old actress Sheila Florance, right, with Gosia Dobrowolska). It's precisely because "A Woman's Tale" makes Martha's life so precious and valuable, showing what even the tiniest elements of her routine mean to her, that it finally makes us weep. As the movie makes clear, the treasures of life are transient. It's the work, the people, the living, that makes life important (Showtime Thursday at 2:30 p.m.).