Female lovers reunite in Paper Ring’s “Great Escape” music video

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“The mass media depicts older lesbians in love way too often,” said no one ever.

Yup, when it comes to media representation, older queer women get the short end of an already short stick. Just ask yourself, how many relationships between women over the age of 70 have you seen onscreen? My guess is not many, because that would certainly be my answer. That’s why the music video for Paper Ring’s “Great Escape” is a breath of fresh air. 

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“Great Escape” is an original track from the short film Pink Moon directed by Sal Bardo, who not only wrote the song, but directed the music video, too. It tells the story of a 70-something woman (Maxemillian Corkum) who leaves her husband of 50 years for a woman (Diana De Rosa) from her past.

“Is there ever a point in your life where it’s too late to start over? Where it’s too late to choose to be happy, and to choose to be who you are? I think the answer to that is, ‘It’s never too late’,” Sal said.

But why this storyline, and why now? Sal says he drew inspiration from the progress we’ve witnessed in recent years in terms of LGBT rights and the hope he believes that must have sparked in a lot of older queer people. So why two women and not two men then? Because societally, there’s added weight there. “A woman leaving is something that I think is still, to this day, something a little more uncommon,” Sal said.

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Also uncommon? Seeing women of a certain age being physically affectionate with one another (as in more than a hug…). Fortunately, the women in “Great Escape” actually kiss. But it almost wasn’t to be, as Sal hadn’t written it into the original treatment. It was only when he witnessed the “great chemistry” between Maxemillian and Diana on set that he realized something was missing–a kiss.

“I really wanted to make sure it was clear,” he says, pointing out that, without that kiss, some people could interpret the women’s reunion as one between friends, which would defeat the video’s purpose.

What we don’t get is much backstory for the two women, or a clear ending. Again, this is no coincidence. “Generally, I like to let audiences sort of fill in the blanks for themselves because I think that that’s what’s great about art,” Sal said, “is that you bring yourself to it.”

But he’s going to have to start fiddling with those elements soon, because he plans to turn the story into his first feature length film. It’s still early days, but Sal says he’ll likely be looking to raise funds online. “It’s exciting because when you do it independently you don’t have a lot of people who are looking over your shoulder, and you have control over the whole thing.”

If the film is anything like the music video, I think we’ll have another something special on our hands.

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