October 12, 2021
This gorgeous and moving melodrama finds two Women in 1950s Rio under suffocating family expectations – and sees what happens when they are defied
The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmāo review – sisters fight the pain of patriarchy
‘What do you want from life?” a husband drunkenly yells at his wife in Karim Aïnouz’s gorgeous and very moving melodrama set in 1950s Rio de Janeiro. The man’s wife is Euridice (Julia Stockler) and what she wants is to be a classical pianist. Her husband is angry and hurt: why can’t she just be happy in the kitchen? Adapted from a novel by Martha Batalha, this is the story of Euridice and her sister Guida (Carol Duarte): their inner conflicts and rebellion against the suffocating patriarchy of home.
The film beings a few years earlier: Euridice is 18 and applying to study music in Vienna. Her heart is broken when boy-mad Guida runs away with a no-good sailor to Greece, promising to write when she is married. Predictably, she returns with a baby bump and no wedding ring. There’s an appalling homecoming scene when their dad, a baker, violently shoves Guida out of the house; she’s nine months pregnant at the time (and the film never lets us forget that violence can be done to these women at any time of a man’s choosing). Unforgivably, Guida’s dad says that Euridice has left Rio and is living in Vienna. The truth is she’s up the road, married to an insightless oaf.
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