Sharunas Bartas’ wrenching eighth feature “Seven Invisible Men” seems to suggest that just because people are bored, depressed and have scant prospects beyond the next strong drink or harsh cigarette, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t spend two hours trapped in their company. A celluloid sleeping pill for mainstream auds but a hermetic whammy of aesthetic accomplishment for fest habitues, ode to human misery, centered on a small batch of men and women in the Crimea, captures every graduation of grim.
There’s a car theft at beginning of the aggressively dreary pic, but the real crime is that all the characters have been robbed of their potential by mostly unstated political, economic or emotional circumstances. Running the gamut from sorrow to woe, their lives are riddled with regret. Nonetheless, through helmer’s eyes, the natural landscape of this territory to the south of the former Soviet Union can be staggeringly beautiful. As pic moves toward its draining, visually stunning conclusion, several generations end up sharing a sodden evening in a subsistence-level wooden shack in the middle of nowhere. Viewers will be grateful to emerge from the theater anywhere but there.