Monday, September 29, 2014

Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: BLIND - Javi's take

Directed by: Eskil Vogt
Written by: Eskil Vogt
Starring: Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Henrik Rafaelsen, and Vera Vitali
Synopsis: A recently blinded woman retreats to her paranoid mind as she adjusts to her new life.

Sometimes the only thing worse than reality is what you make up in your own head. That's why darkness is actually pretty terrifying and was used by early horror directors as a cheap way to elicit fear into viewers. Ingrid, having recently lost her sight, turns to the stories in her head to cope with this very terrible tragedy. BLIND is the debut film of director Eskil Vogt, who does an outstanding job through clean and precise editing.

The majority of the movie is told by narration as Ingrid as she goes through her day trying to cope with her current condition. Her husband is successful businessman who has huge event coming up. As you see Ingrid narrate her day, it's actually interesting to note that BLIND is a very visually rich movie with the camera constantly shifting focus from one seemingly mundane object to the next. What makes it really neat experience is to look for subtle changes in the background. During one scene there might be a stack of boxes, but it might disappear in the next scene.

It's subtle changes like that that keep the movie visually interesting which is important considering that the majority of it takes place in one room. What's cool is that the director explains that a blind person's ability to visualize starts to go away the longer that a person is blind and this is a neat way of showing this. The movie also very cleanly and precisely edits scenes which adds a surreal aspect to it. Sometimes Ingrid will forget that a characters' child is a daughter and not a son, or the scene will show you what she imagines is happening versus what's really happening. All of these cuts are so expertly done, and they are a great joy to watch during the movie.

To pass her time, Ingrid decides to start writing a story about a couple of characters that are very much an extension of her own psyche and her own insecurities. Her husband has been trying to get her to leave the apartment and attend his big business event, but she just will not budge. As part of the story, you see how insecure Ingrid feels about her blindness and whether her husband is even interested in her any more. She's so paranoid that she makes him a character in her story that is having an affair with one of the other characters.

The story as a whole is always beautiful, slightly surreal, and amazingly acted but never really climaxes which might be its greatest flaw. When the story unfolds to reveal the actual (internal) conflict, the movie is all but over in ten minutes. Then again, the movie is such a visually striking commentary on escapism and the damage it can do to reality that it's easy to forgive some minor complaints.

BLIND IS a beautifully acted and confident character study. The fact that it's so visually dynamic just adds to the joy of seeing it. Director Vogt shows a confidence that makes one really excited to see what he releases next. 

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