Friday, December 20, 2019

Movie with Abe: Invisible Life

Invisible Life
Directed by Karim Aïnouz
Released December 20, 2019

There are those who live their lives for themselves, and who are perfectly capable of finding happiness on their own. They may remain single either by choice or not, and find joy in moments of solitude or when surrounded by people. Others require a human connection, one that can’t be manufactured or created but which stems naturally from the setting in which they are born and grow. Being separated from a kindred spirit with none to replace it can be especially harmful, and there are those who may never recover from a lack of necessary companionship.

Guida (Julia Stockler) and Eurídice (Carol Duarte) are sisters in 1950s Brazil, raised by a conservative father (António Fonseca) and subservient mother (Flávia Gusmão). When Guida runs off to Greece with a man and returns pregnant and on her own a year later, her father banishes her from the house and his life. Worse still, he tells her that Eurídice has moved to Austria, when in fact she never left Rio de Janeiro. As Eurídice finds her dreams suppressed by her selfish husband (Gregório Duvivier), she longs to be reunited with Guida, who encounters many roadblocks to her own happiness and comforts herself with the knowledge that her sister must be happy somewhere far away.

This is inherently a tragic tale, one of two sisters who could be exactly what they each need to cope with the misery of their daily lives and circumstances. Being kept apart from one another with the missing information that they each yearn equally for each other forces them to be strong and persevere nonetheless. Guida must be a single parent and forge a friendship with a kindly woman (Bárbara Santos) who feels for her, while Eurídice endures chauvinistic treatment from a husband who isn’t actually interested in her happiness. It’s a grueling portrait, but one that finds considerable depth.

Stockler and Duarte are a formidable duo who make their roles feel entirely lived-in, transforming and taking the hands dealt to them by their families and the world they live in while the camera watches. The film’s full title is “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão,” but this is a story about both women and their parallel paths which are influenced by the absence of the other. The muted art direction and vibrant costumes in Brazil’s official Oscar submission for Best International Feature contribute to a melancholy experience that is undeniably difficult but also powerful and lasting.


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