Susan Muska and Gréta Olafsdóttir's "Edie and Thea, A Very Long Engagement" (USA 2009, 61 minutes) is reminiscent of many balmy summer evenings spent in front of a slide projector screen, looking at the slides of family members, back in the days before each of us became a part of that family. Looking at the world that changed from black and white to Kodachrome in the '60s, we saw our parents and aunts and uncles grow up and become the older people they were at the time that we knew them. We know our family's past. There are times when our collective family story comes from those lesbian people who were brave enough to be everything they knew they could be at a time when it wasn't cool to be lesbian. Edie and Thea are two of those people.
Sharing pictures and perspective, as they look back over the 40-plus years of their relationship, these are the proto-parents and grandparents of today's lesbians. They love the same things we love, in Thea's words, "Sand and water and girls," and when they knew they were in love, in the 1960s, Thea wanted to give Edie a ring. Edie worked at IBM, a pioneer in the computer age, so if she were to wear a ring, there would be too many questions, so Thea knelt on one knee and gave her a circle of diamonds as a pin. It would take almost 40 years for them to complete that circle with marriage.
Their motto is "Don't Postpone Joy." They travel, and speak of their love and how beautiful they each find the other, and how beautiful they find one another now. Thea has progressive MS, so while their traveling and dancing days, that they both loved, are behind them now, they are very frank about how couples should never give up sex. And the love and the connection and the passion between these two women are palpable.
Looking at pictures of these beautiful women and how they became the people that they are today, so happy, so vital, is an important lesson. Edie and Thea, and the people like them, have shown us the way. Women and men, gay and straight, need to see this life-long love letter between two amazing people. It gives true depth to "till death do us part."
QFest, Philadelphia's LGBT film festival, gives "Edie & Thea" its Philadelphia premiere screening on July 17 at 2:30 at the Ritz East, 125 South Second Street, in Theater Two, on a bill with Becky Lane's short "Hens & Chicks" (USA 2010, 15 minutes). QFest runs through July 19. For further information, visit http://www.qfest.com.