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Unsichtbare Gegner (1977)

Anna, an artist, is obsessed with the invasion of alien doubles bent on total destruction. Her schizophrenia is reflected in the juxtapositions of long movie camera takes with violently ... See full summary »


Valie Export


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Cast overview:
Susanne Widl Susanne Widl ... Anna
Peter Weibel Peter Weibel ... Peter
Josef Plavec Josef Plavec ... (as Dr. Josef Plavec)
Monica Helfer-Friedrich Monica Helfer-Friedrich
Helke Sander Helke Sander
Dominick Dusek Dominick Dusek
Herbert Schmid Herbert Schmid
Edward Neversal Edward Neversal


Anna, an artist, is obsessed with the invasion of alien doubles bent on total destruction. Her schizophrenia is reflected in the juxtapositions of long movie camera takes with violently edited montages: private with public spaces; black & white with colour, still photographs with video, earsplitting sounds with disruptive camera angles. Anna uses her body like a map; after a devastating quarrel with her lover, she paints red stitches on herself. Watching their scenes together, we realize how seldom, if ever before, the details of sexual intimacy have been shown in film from the point of view from a woman. Export privileges rupture over unity and never settles for one-dimensional solutions (Artforum, Nov. 1980) Written by Sixpack Film <office@sixpackfilm.com>

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Release Date:

December 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Adversários Invisíveis See more »

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Did You Know?


Features The Poseidon Adventure (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

A woman seems to believe an increasingly unfriendly world has been invaded by foreign forces
8 January 2007 | by wsterbaSee all my reviews

Invisible Adversaries is a very difficult film which requires to some extent an understanding of Vienna and Austian culture. Export loves to offend and most viewers will find her photographic effrontery annoying and give up before recognizing the remarkably consistent themes discussed by the film.

Some of the themes raised relate to the role of art in contemporary society addressed by Anna's photographs that replace real objects in her home and around the city of Vienna. She also interrogates social values by replacing objects and people (such as the baby Jesus) in historical paintings with advertising props such as soap powder and vacuum cleaners (in the style of Hermine Freed).

The larger story relates to whether a woman (who is disturbed by seeing her world becoming increasingly dark and unfriendly) is ultimately insane. Anna's world is clearly one full of discord. Couples (including herself and Peter) are continually fighting and children are shown watching violent activities on TV. The viewer is often subjected to radio broadcasts about the wars and violence of the world, from the Icelandic cod war to events in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Export uses a genuine psychiatrist in the role of psychiatrist to show that our society tends to condone medicating people who see the world as a depressing place. Without spoiling the film, I would like to suggest that many of the events of the film are metaphors that ask us to question why we accept certain behaviors as normal or acceptable. While a bit dated, this film still does what art should do: it leaves us with questions about ourselves and our culture.

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