**** 'A rigorous, elegant study of emotional crisis.' The Guardian
'Mysterious... compelling... asks raw, unsettling questions of us all.' Sight & Sound
'Meticulously crafted, deeply felt.' Film Comment
'Smoulders long in the memory' Little
'The time has come for overdue recognition for this considerable
talent.’ Sight & Sound
**** 'Defiantly individual... Casts a spell...' Time Out London
Hugo, a man on the cusp of middle age is in
the grip of an unshakeable torpor, squandering his life away. Facing the
impending death of his friend and professional mentor Antonio, he realises
something must change. Existing somewhere between the existential horror of
Bergman and absurdist literary dread of Kafka, The Invisible Life explores how
Hugo’s past smothers his ability to imagine and create a future for himself.
Beautifully shot and steeped in darkness,
the film conjures an uncanny atmosphere as Hugo, his dying friend and ex-lover
Adriana confront his inability to navigate the modern world. Hugo prefers to
work alone at night in the cavernous offices of the civil service. His
colleagues make him anxious and he has the social skills of a hermit. Hugo’s
office, in the heart of Lisbon, looks out over a city in constant flux.
Ironically, redevelopment and change appear to be the lifeblood of Hugo’s
profession as a city engineer.
Yet Hugo himself has lived for so long in the
comfort of Antonio’s shadow that he has become incapable of making a decision
on his own and taking agency over his own life. Hugo is a man terrified by
change and unsure why. He lives in the house of his dead parents, unable to use
the rooms in which they lived, choosing instead to mothball them as a shrine to
an airless past.
Equally his relationship with Adriana, the love of his life,
has stalled too. Frustrated with Hugo’s inertia Adriana has given him an
ultimatum – to move out of his family home and in with her, or forever remain
alone in the shadows of memory.