The Invisibles (Les Invisibles) (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byJennifer Tate10/07/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 115 mins

Les Invisibles is an engaging and endearing documentary that successfully and intimately communicates the pioneering lives and personalities of eleven very likeable individuals, but the film can feel repetitive at times and the almost two hour running time feels overstretched.

What’s it all about?
Directed by Sébastien Lifshitz, Les Invisibles is a French documentary, in which eleven homosexual and elderly men and women (some in couples, some living alone) discuss their brave decisions to be openly gay at a time when society rejected them. Born between the two wars, the documentary’s subjects are now in their 60s and 70s and each talk frankly and nostalgically about their love lives, first experiences and pioneering, unique journeys to become who they are today. Combining interviews with personal photographs and video footage, Les Invisibles won the Best Documentary award at the 2012 César Awards and marks the second documentary film for Paris-born filmmaker, Sébastien Lifshitz.

The Good
One of the most noteworthy things about Les Invisibles is that its eleven subjects speak in such a strikingly frank and intimate manner, which is a testament to director Sébastien Lifshitz, who has admirably made great effort to make his interviewees look and feel comfortable in front of the camera. The individuals themselves are also likeable and endearing and it’s fascinating to hear about their unique experiences; and the old photo and video footage that occasionally pops up alongside selected interviews works really well. Finally, the fly-on-the-wall style shots of the couples going about their everyday lives are wonderful and communicate a type of strength and solidarity to their relationships that perhaps an interview could not.

The Bad
Even though it’s wholly interesting to listen to these inspiring people speak about their lives, Les Invisibles starts to feel a little repetitive towards the end of the second act. The almost two hour running time also feels far too overstretched for a film of this nature and there are certain scenes that arguably don’t really need to be there and could have easily been shaved off in the editing suite.

Worth seeing?
Despite an occasional sense of repetitiveness, Les Invisibles is an uplifting and compassionate film that will more than satisfy its target cinema crowd. If you’re a fan of intimate character studies, then this is definitely worth a watch.

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The Invisibles (Les Invisibles) (15)
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Content updated: 16/10/2018 15:05

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