Invisible World (Mundo Invisivel): Montreal Review

Anthology contains a few pleasures but doesn't add up to much.

Twelve filmmakers offer Brazil-centric shorts on the theme of the unseen.

MONTREAL — An omnibus whose loose theme seems mostly an excuse to have respected international auteurs feature Brazil in a selection of disparate short films, Invisible World addresses the notion of the unseen in ways both literal, metaphorical and occasionally dubious. Though the names behind the production will attract attention at fests and some of the segments satisfy, the project doesn't gel to an extent that would justify Stateside arthouse bookings.

Of the best-known filmmakers here, some deliver work that feels tossed-off or barely recognizable. Wim Wenders' tiny doc about children at a school for the near-blind is heartfelt but anonymous; Guy Maddin's visit to a necropolis on the Day of the Dead has a whiff of his sense of humor and occasional flashes of his shooting and editing aesthetic, but is sketch-like compared to his other work.

Atom Egoyan's section, on the other hand, successfully links the anthology's theme to his long-running exploration of the Armenian genocide. Though producers may not have loved that it was shot outside Brazil in the Armenian capital, it's one of the stronger entries. As is one by actress/director Maria de Medeiros, which follows a room-service waiter at a luxury hotel whose guests never see him unless they're asking for an illicit favor. The crisply lensed, funny but politically aware film would be the most satisfying stand-alone short of the bunch.

The producers tag explanatory or evocative texts to the end of each film -- occasionally providing useful context but mostly suggesting an editor's attempt to turn motley pieces into a whole. The texts do a disservice to Manoel de Oliveira's entry, a light urban episode whose comedy is immediately accessible and whose philosophical overtones are best left for viewers to interpret.

Production Company: Gullane e Mostra de Cinema

Directors: Theo Angelopoulos, Guy Maddin, Marco Becchis, Manoel de Oliveira, Lais Bodanzky, Gian Vittorio Baldi, Maria de Medeiros, Beto Brant, Cisco Vasquez, Jerzy Stuhr, Wim Wenders, Atom Egoyan

Screenwriter: Leon Cakoff

Producers: Leon Cakoff, Renata de Almeida, Fabiano Gullane, Caio Gullane, Debora Ivanov, Gabriel Lacerda

Music: Andre Abujamra

No rating, 96 minutes