Saturday, November 22, 2008

BLINDNESS - doesn't earn the right to include such graphic footage

BLINDNESS is an elongated metaphor for the loneliness people feel in modern society. It shows us a world, very much like our own, where people are essentially self-interested and "blind" to the feelings of others. This manifests itself in a strange plague that turns everyone blind, except for a Doctor's wife (Julianne Moore). The blind are herded into prisons, where savagery takes over. Gael Garcia Bernal's character establishes himself as a tyrant. Woman are forced to submit to rape in order to survive.

The rape scenes are, as they should be, hard to watch. I have no truck with this in principle. One of the best movies I've ever scene is Gaspar Noe's IRREVERSIBLE, which features one of the most graphic and unendurable rape scenes in film. The difference is that IRREVERSIBLE earned the right to show that scene by placing it in context and showing how it affected all concerned. It was a crucial part of a brilliant film. By contrast, BLINDNESS never really works as a film.  I didn;t engage with characters - there was no real plot - or at least, I didn't understand why characters took the decisions they did, so that the plot seemed implausible - and worst of all, the "big idea" is rather obvious.  That the director, Fernando Mireilles feels it necessary to hit us over the head with it us is simply unfortunate. It's simply a rather patronising, obvious, pedagogical exercise. 

BLINDNESS played Cannes and Toronto 2008 and was released earlier this year in Brazil, the US, Belgium, France, Greece, Mexico, Chile, Germany, Peru, Singapore, Panama, Argentina, Israel, Portugal, South Korea, Finland, the Netherlands, Russia, the UK and Japan. It opens in Venezuela on December 19th and in Italy on March 6th.

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