Directed by: Karim Aïnouz
Written by: Murilo Hauser, Inés Bortagaray, Karim Aïnouz
Starring: Carol Duarte, Julia Stockler, Gregorio Duvivier, Bárbara Santos, Flávia Gusmão
Life has a way of conjuring hope only for it to be cruelly and unjustly taken away. Perseverance creates the greatest antidote that keeps us up and continuing to fight systems meant to keep everyone down. In the case of Invisible Life, it revolves around two sisters living with the decisions they made in life.
Living as best friends and sisters Eurídice (Carol Duarte) and Guida (Julia Stockler) get by with their very old-fashioned father and mother. Guida has a boyfriend, whom she wants to sneak out and attend a party with and Eurídice helps create a distraction for the escape. After the party, Guida has the opportunity to leave Rio de Janeiro with her boyfriend and she takes it, abandoning her family. Years later Guida returns heartbroken and with a child to find Eurídice being married and an unforgiving father.
Being a woman in 1950s Brazil must be quite similar to the experience around the world, where their purpose revolves around getting married, producing children, and obeying the men in their life. A mold these two sisters attempt to break away from and as a reward never foster a connection they could have cherished. While having a melodramatic plot, the inner workings of Invisible Life contain such a yearning for connection and love. The artistry on display throughout the film exhibits a type of control that romanticizes the era but condemns the backward values that harms these two women.
As a tale of these two women, it would be apt to describe them. Guida brought love as the older sister and guidance for Eurídice in a way that was protective. She represents a wronged woman who picks up the pieces of her life to make something worthwhile for her son. When she returns home, she does not receive a warm welcome from her father. He sees her actions as a disgrace to the family and everything he has worked for. With having plenty of space in the house, he kicks out his daughter and banishes her from his life and of Guida’s mother and sister. The mother has no power in the situation and allows him to lie about the whereabouts of Eurídice so Guida could never reconnect. Guida decides to live her life and in the process makes a new friend who can support her during her journey. Throughout the story a warmth arises from Guida with everything she tries to do and the actor, Julia Stockler brings all of it out.
Eurídice embodies the search for a dream and wanting to accomplish something with her life. She has the ambition of wanting to attend a music academy in Europe and has proven to be an excellent piano player. Always looking ahead and for more, Eurídice works hard while pleasing her father by completing her womanly duty of marrying a man and having a child the “right way.” She yearns for connection with her sister but constantly receives deception from her family about Guida’s whereabouts.
As melancholic as the story appears to be, there are genuine moments of love shared between characters. Whether it be Guida with her new family or Eurídice trying to have it all. Each exceptional in their own way, these two sisters saw their separation from a misogynistic society that felt it could decide what proper information these women should know. Through their freedom, they were each able to make something of their lives but their journey never does come full circle because the system around them continually refuses to let them make their own decisions or have full autonomy. Behind the missed opportunities shows the beauty these women squeeze out of life and in those moments they display what makes them marvelous and ultimately stand out.