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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Les Invisibles

IntroductionLes Invisibles

Les Invisibles is a documentary film about the experiences of being lesbian, gay or bisexual in  Southern France. In French with English subtitles Les Invisibles was directed by Sébastien Lifshitz and released in 2012. It features a number of men and women aged 60, 70 and 80 recounting their memories of ‘coming out’ and living with their sexual orientation at a time when this was not easy. The film includes some accounts of the emerging gay rights movement in France, accompanied by archive film footage, and also reminds us that when many of the interviewees were discovering their homosexuality or bisexuality, it was still classed as a mental illness. As same sex marriages are now legal and available in England and Wales from March 29th 2014, but certain other countries are making it harder to be openly LGBT, Les Invisibles is an important film to highlight at this particular moment.

 

The Film

Les Invisibles is composed around a series of monologues delivered to camera by various men and women either alone or in couples and in their home environments. Each person starts by explaining how they first became aware of their sexual orientation and what implications this had on their immediate relationships with family, friends or work colleagues. They then proceed to discuss the experience of being lesbian, gay or bisexual through adulthood up until the present time, in which the effects of ageing now play a part. At all times respectful, the integrity and dignity of all participants are portrayed beautifully as they describe the struggles that many endured by being open about their sexual orientation at a time when this was widely disapproved of.

 

Relevance to the Field of Mental Health

Les Invisibles provides the viewer with an important reminder about the continued existence of sexual behaviour in older age, whether heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual in orientation. It is also the case that, as it has become easier in our society to be openly gay, there is an increasingly visible elderly population who need acknowledging within that community and that this may not be quite so easy for them. As an article in The Guardian newspaper in September 2013 describes, the sheltered housing and care home sector can present significant difficulties for older LGBT people. The Alzheimer’s Society has a useful webpage providing advice on the topic, entitled: Moving into a care home - advice for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

 

This is a very warmly moving documentary that handles its subject matter sensitively whilst providing valuable insights for all who may encounter elder LGBT people as they work within the caring professions.

 

• More information about Les Invisibles can be found at IMDB as can a short trailer.

• The Les Invisibles can be purchased from amazon.co.uk.

• Minds on Film is written by Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Joyce Almeida

 

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About this blog

 

Minds on Film is a monthly blog that explores psychiatric conditions and mental health issues as portrayed in a selection of readily available films.

Please note that this blog may contain plot spoilers. Any views expressed are purely my own.

Dr Joyce Almeida

Dr Almeida is a consultant
psychiatrist working in the private sector in the UK.

 


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