“Time appears longer when you cannot see.”
A poignant and powerful phrase from the beginning of Kamen Stoyanov’s documentary IN-VISIBLE. The narrator emerges from a railway tunnel into Slovenia much like one of Plato’s chosen cave-dwellers. The perception of time is not the only thing that is about to change.
Part-allegory and part-hero’s journey, the film tacks along the course of darkness, discovery, light, and the role of the guide along the way. The classic narrative structure beautifully compliments the documentary’s own exploration of the invisible/visible as clear parallels to darkness/light.
The grounding in Ljubljana is a reminder that these are not just concepts reserved for mythology. They are happening everywhere as a kind of everyday yin and yang. Where there is visible, there is invisible. And if there is any truth the the concept, the invisible world is equally counterbalancing the visible once – with equal importance. As the title suggests, there is a path inside the visible. Stoyanov takes us in invisible Ljubljana.
We meet two guides in Marko Pogačnik and Taubi in a path of discovery of the hidden Ljubljana. Each a sage in their own way, Stoyanov assumes the role of seeker and transmitter of their wisdom, allowing the two men to speak of an invisible truth. Marko offers a path into a world of metaphysics – dreamlike and symbolic. Taubi, worldly and raw, blends politics and emotions from the deep fringes of urban Ljubljana.
The juxtaposition is evocative and enjoyably open-ended, leaving room for personal choice in a journey. There are always decisions to be made in how to regard newly visible places. Far from preachy or patronizing, the film echoes the words of a third guide and another invisible world:
“I don’t help anyone. I give you only a place.”
Despite their differences, Taubi, Pogačnik, Pierino, and Stoyanov echo a similar kind of compassion which creates space for what might be found in invisible worlds. Where there is invisible, there is often neglect and suffering that elicits a strong desire to help. But maybe it is as Don Pierino says – rather than trying to help, maybe we could do more with the act of providing a place.