We finally managed to cross off another film that has been on the Queerguru must-see film since 2012 when it won a César for Best Documentary Film (Meilleur film documentaire). Les Invisibles by queer French filmmaker Sébastien Lifshitz a two-time Teddy Award Winner is a tender look at a group of French seniors who recount their journeys to sexual liberation and finding their own truths.
Most of the participants are septuagenarians and octogenarians and their sexual orientation fits in somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum although none of them were really hung on attaching labels to themselves.
Although we have no inkling on the casting process that Lifshitz used to select this fascinating diverse coterie of queer elders, the one thing that strikes you is that they all share a real sense of joy de vivre. Each of them could recount at least one tough passage of their lives when their homosexuality caused them harm/heartbreak and real despair, yet none of them seem to bear any grudges or real regret.
Lifshitz shows his romantic side right from the start with this touching how-we-met conversation between a couple out in the countryside.
“We met in a rearview mirror. A truck passed me in the street and in the rear view mirror, I saw those eyes.”
“When we both stopped, he came over to me and asked What sign are you?’ I replied “Cancer. To which he said “You have to find love.” And I replied, “I think I just did”
Lifshitz’s subjects include a lesbian couple who run a goat farm, and one of them is the local Mayor. They are also ‘the only gays in the village’.
Then there is Bernard who’s had a lifetime of happy relationships with older men (who have since died) and he is now so content with Ray who had ‘come out’ at the age of 70. The two men now in their 80’s are also good friends with Ray’s ex wife and his five children.
Another looks back to when she was 42 years and the touch of another woman’s hand opened up a gateway to whole new life. One which her grown up children are more than happy to encourage in a family where everyone respects everybody else’s life choices.
Growing up and coming out in a world so very hostile to homosexuals and also independent women, all to often had disastrous consequnces. Lishitz’s heart-warming film doesn’t deny that at all, but the fact that he focuses on such positive life-affirming stories makes it such a sheer delight to watch.