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2003 / 75 mins

Laura Gabbert

Deep in the heart of central Los Angeles lies an unusual retirement home. Sunset Hall is a home for retired radicals. Two residents, Lucille and Irja, may have retired from work, but certainly not from protesting against the world’s injustices.


SUNSET STORY portrays the extraordinary friendship between 81-year-old Irja Lloyd and 95-year-old Lucille Alpert, two residents at an unusual retirement home for aging radicals. Their feisty engagement with life inextricably draws them together, and their vitality and quest for meaning and connection will change the way we all look at aging. As they attend demonstrations, register their fellow residents to vote and debate everything under the sun; including gender roles, sex, and social attitudes towards aging, Irja and Lucille's verve and humor delight us. SUNSET STORY reveals two elderly women's lives in an unusually authentic and surprisingly moving way. This multi-dimensional portrait of two women who defy stereotypes helps students and professionals gain a greater appreciation of the complexities and possibilities of growing old.


“The story of Lucille and Irja may break your heart, but it will also make your day.”
– New York Times

“Sunset Story has such an abundance of wisdom and courage, as well as plenty of warmth and humor, that it lingers in the heart long after it’s over.”
– Los Angeles Times

“A wonderfully humorous take on a seldom broached subject.”
– Los Angeles Times

“That such a place even exists may seem extraordinary, but director Laura Gabbert wisely doesn’t trumpet Sunset Hall itself. Instead, her vid-shot doc reveals what a special place this is through the vector of her heroines, Irja Lloyd and Lucille Alpert.”
– Variety

“It’s the cinematic equivalent of looking up at the sky and taking a good deep breath.”
– LA Weekly

“A terrific film; tremendously moving.”


Tribeca 2003 – Special Jury Award
Los Angeles Film Festival 2003 – Special Jury Award
Austin Film Festival 2003
Miami International Film Festival 2004 – Grand Jury Special Mention
Agen American Indie Film Festival France 2004
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 2004

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