July is moving along.
Okay, well I could always complain, but I won’t. Not now. Maybe later.
Last week, I wrote about how:
Men Are From Mars, Women From Venus, and Then There’s Jupiter.
This week is a free post week.
I have freely chosen to go back seven or so years, to write a movie review of sorts.
I was randomly watching television the other day and suddenly I got this yucky, icky feeling.
It’s a feeling I get anytime I happen to think about one particular movie that I saw when it came out in theatres back in 2008.
It was only a commercial, announcing the airing of a film on television, coming up this weekend.
I had never heard of the novel: “Blindness”, before seeing the film.
Sure, the title intrigued me and my brothers. We chose to see it, but I had no idea, going in, what to expect.
What would happen if an entire city lost their sight?
This film, developed from the Jose Saramago novel of the same name, is a social commentary of sorts. It examines a very good question, but i did not like the results of this particular examination.
I did not like the answer to the question and I was not alone.
NFB Protests Opening of Blindness in 37 States
Several US organizations and groups protested the film on its release. They said it painted blind people in the most horrible of lights. I agree, but I know, deep down, that it is only a story.
It is a question that I have wondered myself. I know just how terrified most people become at the very thought of going blind. It is society’s worst fear, but that’s because it is so very possible. Losts of people lose their sight, mostly due to old age, but not always. What if it were to happen, as some sort of epidemic that began to spread, mysteriously?
The city in this film is not named. Most of the characters aren’t named either. It’s the boy or the woman with the dark glasses or the King of Ward 3, receptionist or the accountant or the man with the eye patch. We don’t learn about these characters as people, who they are or who they were, before they lost the most important of all the senses, the one most people could never ever imagine living without.
It has been several years since I saw it, so this review may be vague in some spots, but others are burned into my brain.
There is loyalty and compassion, but there is mostly chaos, disorder, and the sudden White Blindness seems to be the reason for a total breakdown of law and order, of civilization.
The doctor (Mark) he treats a patient who has suddenly and mysteriously lost his sight. Several car accidents are going on around this unnamed city, because the drivers simply lose their sight and crash into each other.
I remember the entire film sounding quite muted. There is a lot of silence, even behind the traffic noises, the dialogue, and eventually there is yelling and danger.
The doctor’s wife (Julianne) is the only one who is spared, for whatever reason, but pretends just so she can accompany her husband, so they will not be separated. This puts her in danger, but she shows her courage.
The newly blind citizens are locked up in an insane asylum, to keep them safe, but soon they are trapped and cut off from the rest of the world, from any possible help.
This is where the blind community has protested. The situation declines rapidly into madness. Sanitation becomes a problem. There is nobody cleaning the facility and soon there is filth and faeces in the halls. Food becomes scarce. People turn on each other and survival is their only goal. Mob rules is the way of it. Those in favour would claim that this is more a display of how humanity would break down, not blind people specifically, that this is no real reflection of blind people.
The Federation of the Blind would say it still paints blind people as unclean, violent, crazy and dangerous.
I know, logically, it is just a story. I knew that as I sat there, in the theatre, watching the events of Blindness play out on the screen in front of me.
I still reacted the way I reacted. It was a reaction I could not help, that I did not expect.
Are Protesters of Blindness Missing the Point?
As conditions decline, a gang of thugs holds food hostage from the starving prisoners, and then there was the rape scene. I was horrified by what I saw, a mass rape scene, which made me want to get up and leave the theatre then and there.
That, paired with the fact that the people were locked up in an asylum, both made me angry and wishing I had never went to see Blindness.
I guess the idea that any government would lock up its citizens, after they started to go blind, this is more drastic, but it made me picture segregation. I don’t even like the schools for the blind that do exist, but this was a fictional horror that I knew wasn’t real, and still I felt sick.
I will never be able to truly enjoy either Julianne Moore or Mark Ruffalo again, in any other role, after seeing them portray a couple who must survive and take care of each other and others in such a scenario.
I don’t know if I can or will ever read this novel. I don’t know, but maybe seeing it as a movie first is the reason, but watching it disturbed me so much, deep down. I don’t know, but books are often more detailed than movies.
Of course, the author of this book had feelings when he heard how blind people were reacting. He used blindness allegorically, to make his point about the humanity (or lack thereof) and breakdown of our society.
Everyone had their own right to feel the way they felt: whether it was the writer of the novel or the people with the disability he wrote about.
Author decries Blindness protests as misguided – Arts … – CBC
My reaction had nothing to do with the quality of the book, as I have never read it, but my physical reaction to seeing the story come to life on screen.
As for Blindness, the novel: I don’t think I will get to it. So many books; so little time.
I don’t think I could stomach it, but, then again, never say never.
But perhaps I’m missing out on something brilliant, a marvellous piece of fiction.
He was described as a pessimist.
So, upon entering the theatre, when they took our tickets…
Movie employee: Enjoy Blindness.
My blind brother and myself: We always do.
At what age were you or your loved ones diagnosed?
That is the question I will be answering, one week from now, for
The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge
Check out the
Redefining Disability Awareness Project On Facebook,
for all this and more.
4 thoughts on “Reviewing Blindness”
It’s probably not fair for me to comment on this since I’ve not seen the movie or read the book. But based on your review I have not compulsion to do either. When you mention the filth that got to me. One of the things I believe so strongly is that even when we lose our sight (and I’m sure advanced age could make a huge difference in this) but we are inherently the same people. Why then would we become helpless, dirty and behaving in a manner foreign to who we are? I suppose in a world where everyone were to go blind there would be some confusion as not everyone adjusts in the same way. Perhaps one day with the exception of the rape scene you mention I might have to check the movie out to get a better understanding of what the author was trying to achieve.
I did not necessarily want to discourage others from seeing or reading it. I can only say how I felt. Thanks for reading.
I like reading reviews but seldom let them color my viewpoint because I need to see for myself. The subject matter on this particular one was a little disturbing to me (probably more due to the OCD, I take offense to dirt just ask my kids I think I’ve ruined them).