It's a noble enough idea: get five directors to each direct a short film highlighting a problem in an underdeveloped area of the world, then put them together into one feature-length film. Kind of like Paris, je t'aime, only darker and considerably more depressing (but hey, what would a film festival be without a slew of depressing documentaries to remind us of how mundane the problems of our modern lives are when compared to war, rape, child abductions, and obscure-but -deadly diseases that no one at the big pharmaceutical companies seems to care about?)
It is a decent idea, to be sure, and producer Javier Bardem's heart was in the right place in conceiving of the film Invisibles, but somehow the end result is five films that feel disconnected from each other in spite of their common theme of addressing the "invisible" people of society -- the disenfranchised, the victims of long wars, the poverty-stricken residents of slums and remote villages.
Part of the problem with the film is that several of the segments feel like they were shot for the kind of late-night infomercials that appeal to well-to-do insomniacs to donate money to their various causes. I kept expecting Sally Struthers to show up on screen, guiding us from short film to short film while holding a malnourished Third World child in her arms. Documentaries, even ones that highlight relevant social causes, still need to tell a coherent story that draws us in, makes us care about the people or causes we're learning about. Even with short docs, we still need a compelling story to engage the audience, and most of the films in Invisibles just don't accomplish that.