16 August 2013

Author Joan Burnett

Stereotypes around Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) cultures can include the idea of the ultimately disposable: gay men's perceived "high disposable income", the kitsch, the camp, the transient. LGBT culture is often portrayed as synonymous with the commercial club scene and the night-time economy or fashion world: glitz and glitter and an unwanted hangover in the morning.

But what happens when a gay or bi man, lesbian or trans woman turns 40...or 50... or in the case of several of the participants in Les Invisibles, 70 or 80? We don't stop being who we are; we're just older.  The joy of this film is the positive look at older LGBT lives - we DO survive and live our lives to the full, many far away from the urban hustle and bustle. 

Director Sébastien Lifshitz, of Presque Rien fame, found inspiration for this film from an old photograph album he found of two Parisien women - something made him think they may be lesbian and when he researched them, it was true. He then went on to find many vintage photographs of obviously gay or lesbian people from many eras that made him want to record some of the cultures they had left behind.

The stars of the film are the eleven people interviewed, the wonderful archive footage and the gentle backdrop of the French countryside. Lifshitz felt strongly that older people are ignored and belittled almost in the same way as LGBT people, their talents and histories lying unheeded. His film starts to set that right and as he says, breaks free of the "victim-orientated spin on homosexuality", using music, interiors and rural landscapes to make each story feel almost novelistic. Filmed in Cinemascope, this is true "cinema" and truly uplifting. The lives of Bernard, Catherine, Christian, Thérèse, Clerc, Elisabeth, Jacques, Monique, Pierre, Pierrot and Yann will stay with you for a while to come. 

Les Invisibles is screening at FACT on Thursday 22 August. Tickets are on sale now, online, by phone and from the Box Office.