Lily (Late Marriage’s Ronit Elkabetz) and Nira (Jenya Dodina) were raped by the same man in the late 1970s. More than 20 years later they meet again, with the trauma of those attacks leaking back into their consciousness. Israeli documentarian Michal Aviad’s assured fictional feature is interested in the aftereffects of violence—specifically, how women who’ve been sexually assaulted cope with the post-traumatic fallout on a day-to-day basis—and in detailing Lily and Nira’s harried work routines, it privileges their humanity over their tragedy.
Credit the actors for making what might have been nothing but a well-intentioned message movie (which includes real archival testimony of rape victims) into an affecting drama. Elkabetz brings a brittle intensity to the role of a frustrated radical who joins pro-Palestinian protests on the weekends, while Dodina projects a motherly warmth and maturity. The women work together to excavate their pasts, even if what they learn about their aggressor proves to be devastating. There is no closure, only friendship, and Invisible ends not with two women staring into the abyss but laughing at it.
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