Synopsis: Drifting graduate slacker Jason takes the same bus every evening to his night job in the 24-hour garage. Nothing ever changes. Until one night he meets a beautiful stranger. They have sex, but no words are spoken.
Silently, unseen by the rest of the world, a magical thing begins.
Some days later they meet again on the bus, and have wordless sex in the dead of night, unseen by the world. By degrees, the two men fall in love. But no words pass between them – the stranger refuses to speak.
Jason thinks the man, Eddie, is an immigrant and can’t speak English. Or could it be is he in the closet, terrified of exposure, and can’t bring himself to speak? A silenced voice – the invisible minority.
Then it becomes clear Eddie is deaf. And it becomes clear he is not ready to be in a relationship.
Jason wants so badly for this to succeed, but when he presses too hard, Eddie rejects him. Jason has blown it – and will lose the love of his life. The man he has fallen for and never spoken to. The beautiful stranger.
But Jason has started something in Eddie too. And without words, an understanding is reached. Eddie makes it clear he has fallen for Jason too. He makes a sign language gesture. It’s the same in any language: “I love you.”
Somehow, silently, the two resolve to love in secret. Their love can be there in full view of the world, for everyone to see – and yet, still invisible.
Joseph O' Hagan (Jason)
Jimi McKillop (Big Lad)
I have always loved films that use night as a canvas for the lurid colours of subterranea and this is something of a personal style now. Invisible started with a simple idea that would play out in darkness, but be filled with colour: can two people have a secret love affair that becomes a lifetime partnership – without ever exchanging a word?
There is no doubt that my love of the silent, hyperchromatic intensity of night comes (paradoxically) from a black and white classic: Murnau’s Sunrise. All the elements are there: passion, seduction, danger, desire. I have always found it impossible to imagine this film without seeing it (in my mind’s eye) in full technicolour: the city, the fairground, the perils of the night, and the cathartic final sunrise. It might be shot in B&W but imaginatively it is anything but monochrome. It is a feast for the eyes, and our film owes it a huge debt.
Two other films directly influenced the cinematography of Invisible. The first is Pink Narcissus, directed anonymously by James Bidgood in 1971. It’s a queer classic. There’s not much story, but visually it’s sumptuous, the riot of colour in the film a cinematographic analogue for the pumped up flesh-lust of gay erotic fantasy. This is the same world revealed to exist under the surface of night in a humdrum Irish city. While the world sleeps, desire runs riot.
Cinematographer Conor Rotherham and I also drew on Christopher Doyle’s work for Wong Kar-wai – Happy Together of course, but also In the Mood For Love – the mixing of light temperatures, colours and textures in a single shot enabling us to create a world full of possibilities.
Finally, an influence from another artistic form: the track God is a DJ, by Faithless. Again, paradoxically, this dance classic suggested a score of renaissance choral music. Perrotin. Willian Byrd, and especially Thomas Tallis allow the wide open spaces of the film to feel enclosed in a space that is cathedral-like: the fathomless depth of night being only God’s atrium. It enabled this relationship, made in secret, forged in silence, feel sacred, as all love is.
Don Mc Camphill is a writer-director from Ireland. He holds a BA from King’s College London, and an MA in Film from Goldsmith’s College. His writing spans film, theatre and broadcast with commissions for BBC Drama, Radio 4, BBC Films, Calipo, Make [Ireland] and others.
He was the winner of the BBC Double Exposure screenwriting competition, and the BBC First Words radio drama scheme. His first radio play, Bull Epic, was nominated for the Society of Authors’ Imison Award, and a first feature script, based on Bull Epic was commissioned by BBC Films. His Classic Serial Barry Lyndon was nominated for a Sony. In 2002 he was winner of the Bill Miskelly Award from NI Screen.
Films include The Wayfarer, winner of the BBC Northern Lights competition, and Warning Signs, part of the BAFTA-nominated Citizenship series. Current projects include the NI Screen-funded shorts, Invisible and Quiet, both playing festivals, and the feature project, Vivarium, based on the critically acclaimed Edinburgh Festival hit of the same name.
He was formerly a producer at the Soho Theatre in London, and has worked with with companies including the National Theatre [London], 7:84 Theatre Company [Scotland], Tinderbox [Belfast], and Jagriti Theatre [Bangalore]. Don is also an occasional broadcaster, producing and presenting music and culture show, An Cumann Cultúrtha, on Irish-language station Raidió Fáilte. He is a fluent speaker of Irish and English and speaks good French, Spanish and German.