• At any time of the day, a good movie with popcorn or beer is a welcome pleasure.

    Blind (2015): Movie Review

    “An eye-opening drama on the fears and pains of a blind married woman.” 

    “It’s not important what’s real, so long as I can visualize it clearly.”

    With such intriguing thought, Blind takes us inside the mind of visually-impaired Ingrid. A directorial debut of Norwegian screenwriter Eskil Vogt, this puzzling drama is about a woman author whose recent loss of sight only sharpens her creative thinking, creating a flimsy borderline between her imaginary world and bleary reality.

    The film is told in Ingrid’s voice, events unfolding as she dictates them. Thirty-something Ingrid (Ellen Dorrit Petersen), a slim, blond, and beautiful former schoolteacher, suffers blindness of untold origin. She lives in a high-rise apartment with her successful architect husband, Morten (Henrik Rafaelsen). Despite Morten’s urging to venture into the outside world, Ingrid prefers to stay home and sit around all day. Sometimes, she gets to do the things she does before, although messily this time, but mostly, she types down on her laptop computer stories she imagines.

    In another neighbourhood, chubby and lonely Einar (Marius Kolbenstvedt) has developed addiction to online pornography and to all forms of fetish. Single, he takes fancy on a similarly lonely young woman living in the building across his street. He spies on her through his windows. The unknowing woman is Elin (Vera Vitali), a divorced Swedish mother whose shared custody of her daughter kept her in Norway.

    Morten has been staying up at nights a little later than before. Secretly, he exchanges sexy messages with Elin who he has met in an online dating chat. Ingrid senses Morten’s new habit and as her suspicions grow, she begins to crack and her stories start to come full circle. 

    Blind is a daring artwork. It is playful, inventive and persistently haunting. It revolves around Ingrid and the stories and people she imagines. The first half of the film switches between her and the other three characters and their complex relationships. Gently, certain truths dawn and ironically, they further murk the narrative instead of clearing the confusion. Surprisingly, it is an exciting experience as we are left to decide which ones are real and which are Ingrid’s imagination. Subplots and details are also continually changing, further bending realities and challenging our ability to discern make-believes.

    Director Vogt demands attention to details as he masterfully plays with sensory aspects, particularly with the audio and ocular senses. A glance, a tick, a whistle or a brief passing are little hints needed to be picked up. Vogt is fond of close-up shots and overstated sound effects. In some scene, visual details are replaced in an eye’s blink, such as the sex of Elin’s child from boy to girl and Morten’s meeting from a café to inside a bus. There are also appeals to humor and they come in handy to lighten up the dead moments, like the voice-prompted cell phone and color-detecting gadget.

    The film’s structure might be captivating but its emotional drive that carries it throughout. The feature is a thorough study of a woman who must suddenly grapple her blindness. While learning to adjust to everyday life, she also losses her ability to visualize. She becomes terrified, even with just going outside her home. But she cannot let fears defeat her and so she channels her anxieties to her stories. She creates Einar and Elin who are imperfect mirrors of Morten and her, respectively. She believes Morten sneaks back to their apartment during the day and spies on her; similarly, Einar develops voyeurism toward Elin. Ingrid wants to have a child with Morten, and so does Elin. It seems like she is imagining the life she cannot see or wish to see. But she knows that the only way to break free from her fragile and troubles façade is to be truthful and trusting again.

    With her classic Norwegian beauty, pale skin and piercing eyes, Petersen is brilliant as the unpredictable and feeble Ingrid. She is totally convincing as she studiously depicts how blindness is crippling her very being. Rafaelsen complements her well as he provides humanity and compassion to Morten.

    With its opaque lighting and claustrophobic vibe, Blind is tragic and haunting. Alternating between sexy and heart-breaking, it is mind-boggling and moving. And with its refreshing and twisty plot, it leaves audience with an overwhelming responsibility of extracting truths and piece them together into a wonderful picture. 

    Production companies: Motlys, Lemming Film 
    Cast: Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Henrik Rafaelsen, Vera Vitali, Marius Kolbenstvedt 
    Writer-Director: Eskil Vogt 
    Producers: Hans-Jorgen Osnes, Signe Endresen 
    Co-producers: Derk-Jan Warrink, Leontine Petit, Joost de Vries 
    Director of photography: Thimios Bakatakis 
    Production designer: Jorgen Stangebye Larsen 
    Music: Henk Hofstede 
    Costume designer: Ellen Daehli Ystehede 
    Editor: Jens Christian Fodstad


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