Where do all the old gays go? - BFI Flare
Mar 18, 2023
Produced by Maggie Ryan
Patricia, Kay and Celine, Clive and Dan, Daithi
‘When I grow old, I want to go to an LGBTQIA+ nursing home with all my friends and still have our parties together.’
Where Do All the Old Gays Go? Is an Irish short film that shares personal testimony from older LGBTQ+ people and what life has been like for them in Ireland. It is a unique perspective for a film to consider, as audiences do not necessarily get to see older queer people on screen and the film clearly speaks to this. Containing personal interviews from both individual single LGBTQ+ people, as well as LGBTQ+ couples, the film documents their journey as people as well as how they search for a sense of place and community as they get older. Real and refreshing, it is lovely to see an older generation embrace their history and talk about their interests and experiences in a fun, light-hearted atmosphere.
It is not only lovely to see older queer people loving and thriving in Ireland, but also fantastic for young people to have a clear example of older LGBTQ+ people to look to in terms of both history and representation. This is a short film that is very inclusive and fun, as the six people who are interviewed identify across the LGBTQ+ spectrum and all speak to different ways of living and surviving in Ireland. From wonderful gay couples Kay and Celine and Clive and Dan who have been in love for decades, to non-binary icon Daithi and Patricia, who identifies as transgender, have all overcome much adversity and speak on the toughness of growing up. Despite their individual differences, they all come across very naturally on screen and are empathetic to younger generations of LGBTQ+ people. It is a reminder of a history that younger generations should not forget, especially perhaps in Ireland where same-sex equality laws are more recent.
Regarding aesthetics, the film has a very calming and soothing vibe as if to put the viewer completely at ease. The camera is steady and not too overbearing, as it records each individual partaking in the film with grace and respect. Each person seems to have written their own script, perhaps prompted by several questions, as they are able to talk freely about their lives and experiences coming to terms with their sexuality and living freely as LGBTQ+ people. Contributing to the gentle vibes, the sounds and landscape within each scene captures an essence of Ireland through the eyes of those that love within it. It is tranquil and peaceful and provides its very own safe space to watch the film.
What makes this film outstanding is its honesty. It remarks beautifully on the human aspects of aging from a queered perspective that appears natural rather than terrifying. Those interviewed do share the realities of getting old, such as a lack of a queer community at an old people’s home, or not having a safe space or support group catered to them. However, they are able to speak freely about those in life who support them unconditionally and they are able to embrace self-acceptance in the process. They speak of wanting a legacy and the beautiful representation of this film ensures that a legacy has been created for them, forever immortalised on screen.
Ultimately, this is a sweet and light short film that provides plenty of nostalgic smiles.