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Living, Loving / Leva. Älska

Living, Loving opens with some statistics about how elderly LGBT struggle to live in retirement homes, and studies have found that they often end up dying earlier than they should because of the added stress. From there, director Mette AA Gardell introduces us to Regnbågen (The Rainbow), the first building dedicated to old LGBT individuals who are seeking a supportive sense of community. We meet Agneta, a larger-than-life individual who has lived flamboyantly abroad but has never really come out to her aristocratic relatives at home in Sweden. We also meet Ingrbritt, who lived half her life in a heterosexual relationship but one day decided to get divorced and live as a lesbian. Then there’s Tomas, who grew up with a homophobic father and has dedicated his life to activism. These individuals are now able to thrive in a community they have always felt they were lacking.

Living, Loving is a successful documentary when it comes to portraying the struggles of the LGBT community, but it really felt like it lacked premise. After the opening statistics about elderly LGBT individuals in retirement homes, it is never really mentioned again. Statistics pop up on screen throughout the documentary, but they vary in theme and seldom tie into the main story. Many documentaries have been made in the last few years about the LGBT community, and Living, Loving seems too plain to be able to stand out. I left the cinema really wishing it had talked about its initial topic throughout, providing insight into why elderly LGBT individuals are struggling in retirement homes. Instead, this felt like any other documentary on LGBT people, and it seemed as though the director lacked focus.

This review is in the March issue of Cinema Scandinavia. 

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  • Directed by Mette Aakerholm Gardell
Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.