Invisible Life (original title A Vida Invisível) is a Brazilian drama released in 2019, directed by Karim Aïnouz. It tells the tale of two sisters kept apart of each other while living in the same city.
Hello, there! I’m dos Santos, and this is Ulven Reviews, with Movies and series from all over the world and all eras. Today’s review is of the 2019 movie Invisible Life directed by Karim Aïnouz.
In Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, during the 50s, two close sisters, Eurídice (played by Carol Duarte) and Guida (played by Julia Stockler), live in a conservative Portuguese household, in an already conservative society.
One night, Eurídice distracts the family and a guest with her skills as a pianist, while Guida escapes to date with a Greek sailor. In the morning, there’s no sign of Guida, only a letter saying she ran away with the sailor.
The time passes, Eurídice gets married to Antenor (played by Gregorio Duvivier) and moves from her parents’ home. So when Guida gets back, disappointed, and pregnant, their father (played by António Fonseca) lies that Eurídice went to Vienna to attend a renowned school of music. He also makes the wife (played by Flávia Gusmão) promise to never tell Eurídice about the Guida’s return.
The lies and omissions of the parents make the once-close sisters think the other is living a dream in Europe, when in fact, they’re much closer to each other, struggling in the same city.
All the sources and links I use will be in the Description box below.
Invisible Life was the official Brazilian submission for the 92nd Academy Awards, but it didn’t get the nomination. However, there was another Brazilian film that was nominated: Petra Costa’s The Edge of Democracy, in the Best Documentary Feature category.
Petra’s documentary was primarily about the Parliamentary Coup against Dilma Rousseff (I’ll talk about it in future reviews). That made the part of the mainstream media that were accomplices or sympathizers of the coup, really mad. Even prompting misogynist attacks from prominent media personalities.
The current government (that only rose to power thanks to the same circumstances that allowed the coup) also got mad. Right now, they’re trying to find a way of interfering with the future Oscar submissions.
Currently, the Brazilian Academy of Cinema chooses the members of a commission that select the movie to submit to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, the one that awards The Oscars.
A failed actor, Mario Frias, is now the Brazilian Secretary of Culture (not for his competence, but for his complete submission to the proto-fascist president). He tried to choose half of the members in the commission, including its president. Also, he said the chosen film must be “aligned with the government”.
Fortunately, for Brazilian filmmakers, the interference wasn’t possible. But the Far-Right government is rigging every institution they can, so we don’t know for how long Brazilian Cinema be able to resist.
Well, back to Invisible Life.
The plot is really formidable and original. The sisters ended up living very different lives, yet with many similarities. The contrast in their stories has more to do with the gargantuan inequality that existed in the 50s and got worse during the Military Dictatorship in the following decades. While the parallel has to do with them being women.
There’s a line that really says a lot about the women’s struggle that the movie is portraying. A random woman asks one of the girls about her baby’s gender, and when she replies that it’s a boy, the extra says: “Lucky him!”.
Despite the struggles, the movie is not those tear-jerking melodramas with suffering from the beginning to the end. There are many light-hearted moments throughout, making the film much easier to watch, even with the slow-pace.
The two protagonists of the movie are excellent in every way. Each one has its own peculiar characteristics, differentiating from one another, and making a concise and humane believable character. Besides them, my favorite character was Filó (played by Bárbara Santos), that becomes somewhat of a mother-figure to Guida after the rejection of her parents.
The others are not bad, as well. Every one of the remaining characters is well-rounded and fulfills their roles properly. They’re just not as likable as the ones I mentioned previously.
As for the performances, every single one of the actors in Invisible Life is nothing less than amazing. Carol Duarte and Julia Stockler are extraordinary in these roles. Julia Stockler is my favorite by a bit. She was mesmerizing.
In the supporting cast, Bárbara Santos, that I already mentioned, and Maria Manoella (as Zélia) are the best, or the most remarkable. And there’s also the most renowned Brazilain actress of history, Fernanda Montenegro, who has a participation in the film.
Last but not least, I’ll mention Gregorio Duvivier. He gives a proper performance with the time he’s on the screen, and it’s enjoyable to see him acting in such a film.
Every Friday, I watch him as the host of Greg News on the HBO Brasil channel on YouTube. It’s something like that John Oliver show but talking mainly about Brazilian issues. It’s terrific, being soothing and highly stressful at the same time. English and Spanish subtitles are available in his videos.
Another aspect I liked a lot in Invisible Life is the cinematography. The lighting is always excellent and the best thing about it. The framing and how it’s used the elements in the first and second planes is also satisfactory. The movements of the camera are very elemental, nothing too fancy that I recall.
The re-enactment of the time in which the movie takes place is perfect. All the buildings, inside and outside, the vehicles, costumes, and so on, takes us to the 50s. All these details make the movie more immersive.
To sum it up, Invisible Life is an outstanding movie. To me, it’s better than a lot of Best Picture nominees and even some winners of the last years, like 2019. If it was a Hollywood movie, it would have much more recognition. However, Parasite was a pioneer and might be a game-changer in this question.
Invisible Life A.K.A A Vida Invisível is an exceptional movie, very touching, yet without losing the fun. It’s a beautiful portrayal of the life of women in Brazil during the 50s and, maybe, it might tell a lot about the present as well. I’ll give Invisible Life 9 Moons.
That’s it for now. Thanks a lot.