The Invisible Life

Movies, Drama
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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The Invisible Life

When his boss and mentor falls seriously ill, Lisbon government functionary Hugo (Filipe Duarte) goes into a tailspin. He looks back on his life, descends into a vortex of regret, and spends increasing amounts of time in his darkened office after everyone else has gone home.

Yes, it’s an introspective ‘man and his room’ Euro art movie in the classic mould, as veteran Portuguese writer-director Vitor Gonçalves takes us on a journey within a churning, troubled soul. Daringly, Gonçalves dispenses with much of the usual storytelling signposts, offering only the barest of plot (an ex-girlfriend stirs up more old memories). Instead, he delivers an expressive collage of darkness and light, empty rooms and hushed conversations: a vision of Lisbon still musing on its former glories, all interspersed with evocatively mysterious home-movie footage of bracing northern landscapes.

Both an interior portrait and an index of the modern Portuguese psyche, marooned between past and future, this defiantly individual film casts a spell as moody and immersive as any dark ambient soundscape or Edward Hopper canvas. As they say in Portugal – a special one.

By: Trevor Johnston


Release details

Cast and crew

Director: Vítor Gonçalves
Screenwriter: Vítor Gonçalves, Mónica Santana Baptista
Cast: Filipe Duarte
Maria João Pinho
João Perry