The Invisibles: Five neglected crises, including mass rape of women & girls in the Congo Print E-mail

Must viewing for any Government which truly cares about putting an end to human suffering, especially that of women and children

 2008; 371:378 February 2, 2008

Perspectives, Film In Brief

The unforgettable invisibles

By Rhona MacDonald

Scroll down to read the Medecins Sans Frontieres synopsis prior to the Berlin Film Festival of 2007

Produced by MSF and Javier Bardem. Showing at SOAS, University of London, London, UK, on Feb 8, 2008, and at the VIVA Festival in Manchester, UK, in March, 2008. For a DVD of The Invisibles email

Never has a film put me on such an emotional roller coaster as Invisibles, which tells real-life stories from five neglected humanitarian crises­Chagas disease in Latin America, African sleeping sickness, violence in Colombia, child soldiers in northern Uganda, and the sexual assault of women and girls by soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

For me, two of these stories stand out: the smiling and crying faces of the children in northern Uganda as they describe what they did, and what happened to them; and the women and girls from the Democratic Republic of Congo who describe their experiences, each one unique, with courage and dignity. The women are filmed fading in and out of view as if to emphasise their invisibility.

There are no clever tricks to disguise the shocking reality of these situations. We see dead children lying on the ground after they have been shot, very young children in army gear reloading rifles, and hear story after story of just how depraved human beings can behave towards each other. Yet the film also offers hope. The caretaker of Noah's Ark, a refuge for fleeing children, and the women's group that has rescued and cared for more than 300 women and girls who have been sexually assaulted reveal that even in the darkest situations, humanity and kindness can prevail.

Raising awareness can only be truly effective if it leads to action. So the challenge of Invisibles is to take the audience on to the next stage. We cannot simply walk away and forget the child soldiers or the way sexual assault is used as a weapon of war. We should challenge our governments to do something to address the situations depicted in this film.

February 16 2007

 A film with five stories about forgotten crises

Five stories about five forgotten crises directed by Wim Wenders, Isabel Coixet, Fernando León de Aranoa, Mariano Barroso and Javier Corcuera.

Premiere: l Friday Feb 16, 2007
Produced by Javier Bardem with the support of Médecins Sans Frontières

View the trailer HERE

 The INVISIBLES are those we do not want to see, but who end up appearing inside our fears and our unease, among other things, because they never stop existing. They are the victims of five forgotten crises: two forgotten diseases and three armed conflicts which don’t receive the media attention they deserve. We are talking about Chagas disease, Sleeping Sickness, child soldiers in Uganda, sexual violence against civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo and displaced people in Colombia.

MSF is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Spain. On this occasion, MSF wants to pay tribute to those people who have been forgotten by governments, institutions and citizens. MSF wants to give voice through the look of five European film directors.

"INVISIBLES" has been selected by the International Film Festival of Berlin where it will be exhibited in Panorama next Friday 16th February. The actor Javier Bardem and the directors Wim Wenders, Fernando León de Aranoa, Isabel Coixet, Mariano Barroso and Javier Corcuera, together with representatives of Médicos Sin Fronteras, will be in Berlin to present the film in the festival.

"INVISIBLES" is a film which combines documentary and fiction, where the talent of film directors such as Isabel Coixet and Mariano Barroso come together to talk about forgotten epidemics such as Chagas in Bolivia with "Cartas a Nora" and Sleeping Sickness in Central African Republic in "El sueño de Bianca".

Fernando León de Aranoa gives a voice to the children who became a part of the war in Uganda with "Buenas Noches, Ouma", Javier Corcuera shows the consequences of violence in Colombia with "La voz de las piedras" and Wim Wenders talks about sexual abuse in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

All of these stories belong to some of the forgotten crises where MSF works permanently. The actor Javier Bardem, through his production company Pinguin Films and in collaboration with Reposado PC, has produced this documentary film with the support of the organization.