Thursday, August 18, 2011



Dir. Tamar van den Dop

Blind is a beautiful, moving, haunting film, set around the turn of the century. Ruben, who is blind, lives alone with his mother on a huge, remote estate. He has regressed to a nearly feral state, and driven away all the servants. But Marie, who has been hired to read to him, refuses to put up with his bad behavior, because she wants to read the books in his library. As she reads to him from Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen, they begin to fall in love. But Marie, who is an albino, and older than Ruben, and also has scars on her hands and face, believes she is ugly, and that he only loves her because he can't see her. With the possibility of surgery to restore his sight, will Ruben still love her?

This may seem like a cliched plot line--normally I dislike the "ugly girl/blind guy, will he still love her if he can see" kind of story because it seems so trite. But this film manages to transcend the old cliches, to tell a fairy-tale like story that is powerful and moving. Lines from The Snow Queen are quoted throughout the film, which makes it even more like a fairy tale. Without giving anything away, the film deals with the story in a very original and satisfying way.

The acting is sensitive and convincing. The actress who plays Marie is of course a movie star so she's not really that ugly, but she plays the part with a toughness and lack of sentimentality that is refreshing. And the guy who plays Ruben is great, alternately angry and vulnerable, and very good looking. He does a great job playing a blind person, which not all actors bother to do well.

The cinematography is stunning. Each scene is beautifully shot, with careful use of color and lighting. The film does a really good job of showing Ruben's point of view in a creative way. The sound design also is careful and sensitive, and the music is beautiful.

I can't recommend this film highly enough. It's too bad it hasn't been released in the US. You can buy the region 2 DVD online; it has good English subtitles, but you will need a region-free DVD player.

1 comment:

  1. This film was also a book club selection. Discussion (with major spoilers) here: