The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão (A Vida Invisível de Eurídice Gusmão)
The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão may be a dramatically ungainly melodrama, but it’s so well-acted that it almost makes up for it. The film is based on a popular novel by Martha Batalha, and while director Karim Aïnouz creates an interesting look for the feature – grainy filmic textures, plenty of colour and light and shade – he’s otherwise overwhelmed by the sheer weight of the text he’s adapting.
The picture follows two sisters, Eurídice (Carol Duarte) and Guida (Julia Stockler), free spirits in 1940s and 50s Brazil, where the world wasn’t so amenable to such attitudes. After running away with a Greek sailor, Guida loses track of Eurídice, who marries a man herself, and the time-jumping narrative follows their mostly thwarted attempts to reunite.
It’s a familiar dramatic structure, playing off a culture where men had the upper hand and women were expected to give up their career aspirations and bear children. Aïnouz’s staging of the scene in which Eurídice loses her virginity is shocking, as drunk fumblings gradually turn into something less consensual, that nonetheless isn’t severe enough to destroy the marriage. In fact, the director handles most scenes well; it’s just the overall sweep that becomes exhausting, attempting to compress decade’s worth of material into its two-and-a-half-hour runtime.
But ambition is no bad thing, and the acting is, again, superb. Stockler – who bears an uncanny resemblance to Eva Green – is magnetic as a character who cynically smiles in the face of repression, while Duarte’s more gradual journey of self-realisation is equally impressive. It’s worth seeing for them alone.
The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão (A Vida Invisível de Eurídice Gusmão) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão (A Vida Invisível de Eurídice Gusmão) here: