Earlier tonight I went and saw Blindness, a movie about a disease that suddenly makes people blind, which they call “white blindness”. This disease ends up turning into a full blown epidemic, triggering the government to quarantine the sick into facilities in hopes of containing the outbreak. I had been wanting to see this movie for a while now, particularly because of the director, Fernando Meirelles, who directed City of God, and Julianne Moore, who’s a genius in everything she does.

I ended up loving the movie, and this is for many reasons. First, was Meirelles, and his amazing cinematographer, César Charlone. Every scene was absolutely stunning, whether it was showing what it would be like to be blind, or the gritty reality of being trapped in a facility with 100 other blind people. It felt like each scene and every shot was choreographed and planned down to the tiniest detail, nothing was taken for granted. A scene comes to mind where Julianne Moore is walking into the facility they’re quarantined in and she walks between some doorways which is surrounded by glass, showing her reflection from multiple angles all at once. It’s a totally surreal and beautiful moment, captured at the perfect angle.

Second was definitely the cast. Julianne Moore was by far the star of this movie, and she was all over the place emotionally, and truly was the guiding light of this whole film. There was also Mark Ruffalo, Alice Braga, Danny Glover, Gael García Bernal, Yusuke Iseya, Yoshino Kimura, and Mitchell Nye, a rather diverse cast that definitely gave the movie a feeling of taking place anywhere in the world. It’s also interesting to note that none of the character’s were ever called by a name, they were simply known as “doctor” or “lady”. It didn’t feel like it was done in a glaring, in your face kind of way, it really just made it feel like you could easily be one of those people.

My third favorite part was that the movie took place in no identifiable city or country. This was a stipulation made by the author of the book, José Saramago, who wrote the book which the movie is based on. While the movie was shot in São Paulo, I would say that most people watching the film would simply think it’s a big city, any city, somewhere in the world, yet again lending to the feeling that this could happen to you.

On sort of a side note, I had read that the National Federation of the Blind had condemned the film for it’s portrayal of the blind as “uncivilized, animalized creatures,” but I can’t imagine anyone leaving this movie feeling that way at all. If anything, I left the movie with a profound sense of joy that I am able to see all the wonderful sights our world holds. Watching a film like Blindness opens your eyes to the fact that most people take something like seeing for granted on a daily basis. And while the movie made me feel very tense, and it could be graphic and hard to watch in some parts, I still felt it was extremely well done and I highly suggest it to everyone.


October 6, 2008