This is a film that gives pride of place to seniors. With Les Vieux, Claus Drexel follows in his documentary the life journey of several protagonists he met across the four corners of France. From Brittany to Corsica crossing the Basque country and the Paris region, “this film was an extraordinary adventure” for the director.

These retirees, octogenarians, nonagenarians and even centenarians, of all origins, have lived almost a century. Throughout their existence, they actually have a lot to bear witness to their time. For filmmaker Claus Drexel, “the idea is really to give these people a voice because I find that we don’t suspect the wonder we can have in listening to simple, everyday people.”

Some of our old witnesses are talkative and teasing, others more discreet. But, they have no trouble speaking without filter, from the heart of all subjects. The memories of youth, of their schooling and family, the painful memories of war, love or even isolation and the end of life… We find ourselves smiling at their sometimes dark anecdotes, which makes our seniors even more endearing to audiences of all ages.

During the Paris premiere that we attended on April 18, the packed house demonstrated the reception given to the film. Its power is to bring generations together: some young spectators even came with their parents or a grandparent.

“I hope that this film will help, that young people will go see the film too. That they will want to talk with older people,” insists the director. “If you have an elderly neighbor or a lady, you have to go see them, spend time with them.” The opportunity to take them out of daily isolation.

Usually left behind, isolated in nursing homes, too expensive in the eyes of society… Many clichés stick to the skin of seniors. “In public debate, we constantly talk about the elderly, but always in a negative way,” admits Claus Drexel.

With his 1h36 documentary film, produced by Gloria Films, the author of Au bord du monde puts seniors back at the heart of society. Today they speak in the media and tell us their story. It’s caring, hilarious, moving and our elders never stop surprising us. And, as the filmmaker says so well: “Long live the old people, long live the cinema!”.

Directed by Claus Drexel, Les Vieux has been in theaters since April 24, 2024 throughout France. Discover the session locations and a preview in images in our slideshow.