Published Apr 09, 2013Director Sébastien Lifshitz asked eight gay and lesbian people to tell the world about their lives. None of them worked in fashion, retail or banking, nor were they "gym bunnies" that were obsessed with vanity. Instead, Lifshitz explored the lives of a cross-section of French men and women aged between 70 and 80 that were born between the wars and share one unifying characteristic: they are all homosexual.
One is a sheep farmer and another couple owns a small goat cheese company. These men and women are far removed from the urban cliché of famous gay people as reflected in the media. Some of them have experienced combativeness in revolutionary gay movements in the 1970s, such as the FHAR (Front Homosexuel d'Action Révolutionnaire) or the GLH (Groupe de Libération Homosexuelle). They occasionally speak about the judgment they have experienced within their families and relatives but the unifying trajectory is that they have managed to make their way despite this.
With his delicately arranged composition and editing, Lifshitz takes us from the center of Paris to the farms of Provence, revealing his subject's lives to two distinct audiences. The first is to the world, where homosexuals have been invisible through heteronormative adaptation, while the other is the gay communities at large, who, in their lust for youth and vanity, have forced their aged community members out of sight and mind.
Lifshitz places his participants carefully in front of us, ensconced in the worlds they have built for themselves. The stories that they share come from a place of deep emotional maturity and speak from years of experience, which is sadly something that most of their contemporaries can't begin to fathom.
With the legalization of gay marriage being such a hot topic in France at the moment, sparking media debate and mass demonstrations, Lifshitz's Les Invisibles seemingly underscores the irrelevancy of the argument. The strength of the film comes from the fact that it accentuates the banality that these men and women's lives share with their "straight" equivalents. (Zadig Films)