Documental 05: Invisible

Posted on April 16, 2012

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Invisible (2005)

So, I watched ‘The Weight of Chains’ last night during my night shift, and was all set to review that. Then, during my day time off, I watched a documentary that I had been trying to find for about 3 years, after seeing a trailer for it in Mostar. The name of the documentary is ‘Invisible’, and it was filmed over a 3 year period in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. It follows 6 people whose lives are completely focused on heroin. Yes, it is as brutal and heavy as you imagine that would be. It gives the 6 a chance to give their views on the world, to see the world through their eyes, and I’ll admit, it is a fascinating world. I’m as anti-heroin as anyone could possibly be, even bordering on the disgusted when it comes to junkies. Still, this was completely gripping, and in a terrifying way. 5 of the 6 were very young, and they almost came across as the poster children of the confused, lost post-Soviet east. When the USSR collapsed, eastern Europe was practically flooded with heroin, and the escapist lifestyle proved too attractive for a lot of young people. This is the almost forgotten side of the post-communist east.

There is a tendency to assume that all drug addicts are idiots. Heck, maybe they all are in a way, but being fundamentally stupid is not something you can throw at these people. Heck, most of the characters in this film are smarter and more self aware and self assured than you or I. Kamen in particular shows a dynamic train of thought throughout, most clearly when he is interviewed in prison towards the end of the film. Remi, the oldest of the group, also shows a clear minded view of his addiction, and could never be described as being un-intelligent. The final appearance by Remi in the film however is absolutely terrifying. His overdose is displayed in full, and it is something I have never seen before and have no intention of ever seeing again. In all honesty, I’m not sure how I feel about its position in the documentary. Although this is a bones and all view of addiction, there are lines between film making and crassness. I’m unsure what to think there.

Possibly the saddest character on show throughout the film, is Vicki. Impossibly babyfaced, he is a completely harmless young man who it seems has drifted into a lifestyle that leaves him no option other than drifting. Watching him throughout the film is a difficult task, all be it a confusing and compelling one. His best friend, Sasho, also provides the most cringe inducing moments of the film, in particular his recollection of a sexual encounter with a substance abusing friend. It is disgusting.

All in all, ‘Invisible’ is terrifying compelling, but ultimately very, very depressing. The fate of these 6 is by no means unique throughout the world, and maybe that is the saddest part.

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