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Daniel de Oliveira,
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A city is ravaged by an epidemic of instant "white blindness". Those first afflicted are quarantined by the authorities in an abandoned mental hospital where the newly created "society of the blind" quickly breaks down. Criminals and the physically powerful prey upon the weak, hoarding the meager food rations and committing horrific acts. There is, however, one eyewitness to the nightmare. A woman whose sight is unaffected by the plague follows her afflicted husband to quarantine. There, keeping her sight a secret, she guides seven strangers who have become, in essence, a family. She leads them out of quarantine and onto the ravaged streets of the city, which has seen all vestiges of civilization crumble.Written by
Festival de Cannes' Editor
An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind
It's very easy to understand why people hate this movie.
Blindness is directed by acclaimed film-maker Fernando Meirelles, with a story based on a novel by award-winning writer Jose Saramago. It stars Julianne Moore and Gael Garcia Bernal. What could go wrong?
Well, this is one the most depressing movies I've seen in recent years.
Don't be fooled, the genre of this movie is Horror, albeit done in an ultra-realistic way, much like the Brazilian movie wave of the 70/80's - gritty, violent, dirty, and ultimately hopeless.
However it's not a horror movie in the common sense. It's not scary because it has ugly monsters. It's not frightening because there is a lot of gore and blood. What freaks me (and others) out over this movie, is that it tells a story that could happen, and actually, is happening. If one can't see that, then one is as blind as the characters in the film.
The movie is technically brilliant, with great acting and top-notch effects. The story takes place in a non-specific city, but some of it was clearly filmed in São Paulo. The movie poses the question, "what if suddenly everyone in the world became blind"? This is a practical question as much as a metaphorical one.
I don't think this movie can be "enjoyed". The violence is suggested rather than seen (which IMHO makes it scarier). It can, however, be appreciated, as its shocking nature is nothing more than a wake-up call for humanity.
Having said that, Meirelles took a huge risk (the novel was considered to be un-filmable) with this film, and the result was a lynch-mob reaction from both critics and audiences. I wonder how this will impact Meirelles' future works.
I will dare to suggest that, if this had been filmed in Spanish or Portuguese, it might have been hailed as a cult movie. As it is, it's too alienating for audiences that are used to happy endings and fake-violence, or people who watch movies solely to pass the time.
This one is for 'hardcore' movie fans - don't watch it if you're depressed or sad. And it offers the viewers very little in the way of comfort. However, it's so well-executed and disturbing, that you can't help but agree that their goal was reached. Unfortunately, the marketing and the names involved with 'Blindness' misled many viewers who otherwise would never dream of watching this.
It's not a perfect film by any means, though. The music (specially in one crucial scene) just feels out of place sometimes. And If you can't picture yourself as a blind person, some things may not make a lot of sense, too. There is a scene however in which one of the characters sings a very popular song in a slightly different way - one you are not likely to forget anytime soon.
Approach with caution, and preferrably, alone. You don't want to lose any friends or potential dates. But I also think that to miss out on this movie is like losing a chance to watch one of the most thought-provoking films of this year.
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