When this was presented to me for review for a special screening at the Fine Arts Theatre, I didn’t even have a clue what the title Gen Silent meant. Now I do, and it disturbed me deeply — even though in retrospect, I can’t say it surprised me. The press notes put it bluntly: “What would you do if you were old, disabled or ill — and the person feeding you put down the spoon and said that you are going to hell unless you change your sexual preferences? Sound absurd? Social workers around the world say it’s happening every day.” The film on that very topic observes how six lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender seniors deal with that very situation on a day-to-day basis, raising the question of whether or not they have to hide their sexuality in order to survive in the system. The film takes the course of following its subjects for a year — allowing us to get to know them not as a problem, but as people. It puts a face on the issue — and does it with compassion and dignity, but without shying away from just how grim all this can be. This is strong filmmaking on a strong issue — and it’s a film that should be seen by the widest possible audience.
Gen Silent is being shown at Fine Arts Theatre on Sun., Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. Filmmaker Stu Maddux will be at the screening.