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Unsichtbare Gegner 1977
Description: Anna, an artist, is obsessed with the invasion of alien doubles bent on total destruction. Her schizophrenia is reflected in the juxtapositions of long film camera takes with violently edited montages: personal with public spaces; black & white with colour, still photographs with video, earsplitting sounds with disruptive camera angles. Anna uses her body like a map; after a devastating quarrel with her lover, she paints red stitches on herself. Watching their scenes together, we realize how seldom, if ever before, the features of sexual intimacy have been shown in movie from the mission of view from a woman. Export privileges rupture over unity and never settles for one-dimensional solutions
Released: 01 Dec 1980 Director: Valie Export Writers: Valie Export, Peter Weibel Actors: Susanne Widl, Peter Weibel, Josef Plavec, Monica Helfer-Friedrich Genres: Drama
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Unsichtbare Gegner Reviews:

I generally like art films, but this one type of tried my patience.I went in, like others, thinking that this was going to be some sort of alien invasion flick. That's at least what the movie's write-up in the film-series pamphlet had me believe. What I got instead was a bizarre film about a girl going crazy.First, the good.I liked the art in this movie. I guess you must have art to have an art film, and that's where this film really delivers. There are many nice collages and juxtapositions, both in the central character's work (she is an artist), as well as in the filming techniques of the film itself. Also show is some really neat and disturbing footage involving food, a la Svankmajer.Now, the bad.Ok, so, this is definitely not an alien invasion movie. In fact, there is very tiny plot. Basically, this artist girl has a boyfriend who is a total jerk. Instead of just breaking up, they stay together and war a bunch. She's obsessed with the notion that aliens named the Hyksos are invading the world and taking over people's brains. He's fully obsessed with "the system," and all this Chomsky-esque philosophizing about how we're all being screwed. If you've spent any amount time on a college campus, you've heard it all before. Anyway, this was the only logical sense I was able to create from the entire movie - they both trust in the existence of "Invisible Adversaries." Oh yeah, and at some point, she's diagnosed schizophrenic. While this made sense, I didn't really wish to agree it because it was too much of an simple explanation.Also, the film includes some random discourses on Austrian architecture and politics, which did nothing for me, since I know nothing of either.So if you REALLY like art films, I would tell watch this one just for the art. Otherwise, you may wish to spend the two or so hours watching something more plot-driven.Or maybe I've just been taken over by the Hyksos.


"Invisible Adversaries" requires patience, but it's worth it. Only after I realized that the box cover was wrong (it's NOT an alien invasion movie) did I start to see it as the moving storyline of a girl who sees the collapse of her intimate relationship in everything around her--the emptiness of the folks she sees, the fighting in the globe at large. She's also a photographer, and what she does as an artist is mirrored by the filmic technique itself--the movie is full of doubling, re-takes, delays, and some stunning photos (in one sequence shown as if it were being projected over her bed as she's sleeping, she walks across the city in ice skates).I found myself comparing it to Surrealist movies (especially Maya Deren) and sometimes, for brief moments, even Godard. It's not everytime an simple film to take: the lighting seems deliberately un-beautiful, and you won't escape without some bracing intimate moments. It is aesthetically distinctly un-French in its ugliness, but marvelous all the same.


Invisible Adversaries is a very hard movie which requires to some extent an understanding of Vienna and Austian culture. Export loves to offend and most viewers will search her photographic effrontery annoying and give up before recognizing the remarkably consistent themes discussed by the film.Some of the themes raised relate to the role of art in contemporary society addressed by Anna's photographs that replace true objects in her home and around the town of Vienna. She also interrogates social values by replacing objects and folks (such as the baby Jesus) in historical paintings with advertising props such as soap powder and vacuum cleaners (in the style of Hermine Freed).The larger storyline relates to whether a girl (who is disturbed by seeing her globe becoming increasingly dark and unfriendly) is ultimately insane. Anna's globe is clearly one full of discord. Couples (including herself and Peter) are continually fighting and kids are shown watching violent activities on TV. The viewer is often subjected to radio broadcasts about the fights and violence of the world, from the Icelandic cod fight to happenings in Vietnam and Cambodia. Export uses a genuine psychiatrist in the role of psychiatrist to present that our society tends to condone medicating folks who see the globe as a depressing place. Without spoiling the film, I would like to recommend that many of the happenings of the movie are metaphors that ask us to question why we agree certain behaviors as normal or acceptable. While a bit dated, this movie still does what art could do: it leaves us with questions about ourselves and our culture.



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