After a warm reception for The Gambler, Ignas Jonynas´ second distinctive feature film Invisible brings to the screen another morality-like drama flirting with the thriller genre. A puzzle-style narration generating some intense performances, experimenting with various artistic disciplines and some strong framing manage to keep the viewer engaged. The film, however, fails to stick the landing in the final act.
In the opening scenes, the audience is presented with storylines seemingly unconnected to each other. Jonas, a man with an unknown past, longs for success with his unique dance performances, failing until he decides to pretend to be blind. The ruse makes him an attractive commodity for the producers of a TV talent show. He has several flashbacks to the past, but the causality stays unclear until the conclusion. Vytas, meanwhile, also with an unknown past, is released from jail and starts a new life.
The step-by-step revelation of how the stories are related is visually and formally stimulative. The short, intense dance numbers combine with the impressive direction, often framing characters from the back or the front of cars. The theatrical staging of Jonynas can be quite obvious in some scenes, but he deserves credit for playing around with intermediality. The combination of dance, theatre play and short videos makes the middle section more visually forceful than merely spectacular.
The connection between the two men turns out to be a romantic dispute which accidentally claimed the life of a woman in the past. While Jonas kept his freedom and seemed able to overcome the incident, even starting a new relationship with his dancing partner, Vytas was arrested and left only with his anger.
Everything that so far seemed sophisticated about the visual form and the narrative is just revealed as simplistic in light of the revelation. The screenplay just runs out of ideas, failing to fulfill the film‘s ambition to show the grip that media can have on people and on their personal struggles. However, the visuals are impressive enough to satisfy a wide audience.
FIPRESCI Young Critics Warsaw Project
Lemana Filandra is a writer and editor at "Klifhenger" (www.klifhenger.com), a site dedicated to movie analyses in Bosnian and English. She has been working as a freelance writer, a researcher, and a translator for the last three years. Currently, She is working on a PhD thesis in philosophy, focused on intersectional feminism and political implications of the concept of body. In the past she had different professional engagements at Sarajevo Film Festival, one of the most prominent European festivals. She also worked as a producer of a music video, a script supervisor and an assistant to a movie director.
Levan Tskhovrebadze is a student of film studies in Ilia State University, Georgia. He has written and made other kind of journalistic content for Georgian outlets like Indigo, Cinemania.ge or Demo.ge. Recently he started working for Ilia State University online publication Cinexpress.iliauni.edu.ge where he writes reviews, articles and also translates some of the important articles or interviews about cinema into Georgian. He has covered few festivals as a film critic. He was doing video blogs for Berlin International Film Festival 2019th edition and has made some content at CinéDOC-Tbilisi and Batumi International Art-House Film Festival. Cinexpress is also the Ilia State University’s Film Club where he made public reports before screenings.
Oleksandra Povoroznyk is a film critic and journalist based in Kyiv, Ukraine. She is currently working for Vertigo.com.ua, one of the largest Ukrainian websites devoted to the film industry and entertainment in general. She is also the host of two podcasts about movies and TV.
Denisa Jašová is a PhD student of Audiovisual Studies at Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. As a Film Studies and Archival Science graduate, she specializes on archival research in film and TV history, especially on Czechoslovak amateur film and TV non-fiction programmes from 70s and 80s. She also works as a researcher for TV documentaries, as a librarian in the Central European House of Photography and as a talk show host in student radio talk show called Cinefil. She frequently writes for magazine Film.sk, IFF Cinematik Piešťany and her first paper about the history of Slovak amateur film will be released in October 2019 in Kino-Ikon magazine. She simply loves film archives.
Bogdan Balla is a Romanian experimental film director and freelance film critic based in Bucharest. He studies film directing at the National University of Theatre and Film and writes for FILM MENU. Besides directing and producing his own films, he also works as an independent freelance film critic. He reads bell hooks and is passionate about queer cinema. He has a preference for working with archival footage for his films.
Svetlana Semenchuk is an author of such publications on cinema as “Seanse”, “The Art of Cinema”, “Cinema TV” and other. The author-composer of the books “S. M. Eisenstein: pro et contra: Sergey Eisenstein in national reflection: anthology” and “E. F. Bauer: pro et contra. Eugene Frantsevich Bauer in assessments of contemporaries, colleagues, researchers, film critics. Anthology”. Teacher of the St. Petersburg New Cinema School, and at the St. Petersburg State University of Cinema and Television.
TUTORS of FIPRESCI Young Critics Warsaw Project
Amber Wilkinson is a journalist with more than 20 years experience. She is the co-founder and editorial director of UK-based website Eye For Film. Her byline has appeared in The Times, Daily Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald and Filmmaker Magazine among others. She also contributes as a freelance film critic on BBC Radio Scotland. She has run several FIPRESCI young critics' workshops and mentored student critics at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2018 and 2019.
Tommaso Tocci is based in Italy, where he works as a film critic and translator covering film festivals across Europe for international publications. He has also worked for Berlinale Talents and for the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and he currently serves as Co-Programmer for the Saas-Fee Film Festival in Switzerland.