Les Invisibles (4 stars)

Les Invisibles

Beautifully assembled film looking at the lives of homosexual men and women in France

Eleven men and women are interviewed in French director Sébastien Lifshitz’s poignant documentary Les Invisibles. All were born between WWI and WWII and define themselves as gay, lesbian or bi-sexual, and the majority live in the countryside or provincial towns. Lifshitz himself remains unseen and unheard, as his subjects remember their childhoods, their first same-sex experiences, and how they came out to family members. The intimate testimonies here frequently surprise: Jacques, the partner of Bernard, has a wife and children, and began his first gay relationship aged 71. Married mother of four Thérèse was so galvanized by the events of May 1968 that she became a clandestine abortionist and a committed advocate for female liberation, whilst Christian found himself publicly ousted thanks to a centre-spread photograph in a late 1970s edition of Paris Match. Dairy farmers Catherine and Elisabeth, who left Paris for their rural home in the Vaucluse over three decades ago, explain that paradoxically in the countryside, ‘our marginality made us free’.

Filmed in widescreen, Les Invisibles is a beautifully assembled film which pays close attention to nature and judiciously incorporates black and white photographs and home movie footage alongside its interviews. It makes the viewer appreciate the courage of those in the 1970s, who took to the streets to build a socially more progressive society, and reminds us in Monique’s tender words how ‘life can change with a touch of a hand’.

Limited release from Fri 12 Jul.

Les Invisibles UK Trailer - Peccadillo Pictures

Les Invisibles

  • 4 stars
  • 2012
  • France
  • 1h 55min
  • Directed by: Sébastien Lifshitz
  • Cast: Bernard, Catherine, Christian, Thérèse Clerc
  • UK release: 12 July 2013

Beautifully assembled and impressive documentary about eleven French men and women born between WWI and WWII, all of whom define themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual and all of whom live in the French countryside or in provincial towns.