By Mónica Delgado
There’s a marketing fever that considers that every story of women in the festival, is automatically framed in the waves of feminine empowerment of recent times. This of course, happens with The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão, the new film of Brazilian Karim Aïnouz, a melodrama about two sisters which are separated by the father because one of them was made pregnant by a Greek sailor. If maybe this is a story about how sexism destroyed the family environment in the fifties, the staging full of conventionalisms and stereotypes about women, knocks down any intention of vindication.
In Cannes, the film team mentioned that this is an homage to invisible women, a thank you to the filmmaker’s mother, but in contrast to all this, the film rejoices in some socially assigned patterns to women: the whore and the sacrificed mother. Thus, if to describe a sexist society it becomes necessary to appeal to some paradigms or known profiles, it seems that Ainouz only can appeal to some old visions on the role of women in a patriarchy. The denied daughter is left to survive by selling her body in a brothel, and the good girl gets married, has children and has the family consent to keep playing the piano.
Based in the novel by Martha Bathala, The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão takes place in Rio de Janeiro in the fifties, in times of repression of a conservative and classist society. The invisibility of the protagonist refers to the fact that all the tragedy is assigned to the character of Guida, her sister (a great Julia Stockler), almost a secondary character, since the plot centers in Euridice, a pianist that gets married, builds a family and becomes the right side of what a woman must be in contraposition to Guida, who is rebellious, intuitive, free.
Like in Madame Satá, her first feature, Aïnouz is comfortable with the epoch reconstruction, placing the classic Fernanda Montenegro in the epilogue as a trick under the sleeve to move. However, this is a film that doesn’t offer a different view of the feminine , and strengthens some classic archetypes of melodrama, of a woman socially accepted against the stigma of the black sheep.
Un certain regard
Director: Karim Aïnouz
Script: Murilo Hauser (Novel: Martha Batalha)
Music: Guilherme Garbato, Gustavo Garbato
Cinematography: Hélène Louvart
Cast: Fernanda Montenegro, Carol Duarte, Gregório Duvivier, Cristina Pereira, Flavio Bauraqui, Maria Manoella, Júlia Stockler, Nikolas Antunes
Production company: RT Features / Pola Pandora Filmproduktions
Brazil, 2019, 145 mins