The movie, ‘Blindness’ opened at the Atlantic film Festival last week. It opens in wide-release on October 3rd in Halifax. Ya gotta know that a bunch ‘o blind folk are going to have something to say about it. At least, that’s my hope, idea, delusion, nightmare-to-be… When I heard about this movie, based on the book by Jose Saramago, I thought that it would be a great opportunity to get the Halifax chapter of Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians together for a little outing to view this thing. My plan? Send out a media release to local feature hounds and hope that they might be interested in interviewing the blind ‘Blindness’ viewers for on-the-spot reaction to this movie’s spin on blindness. I listened to the trailers on the Internet that are pimping promoting this movie. It’s difficult to get a handle on what’s going on in this city where everyone suddenly goes blind. You know it can’t be good…a little chaos, panic, tortured emotional claptrap and the mandatory heroes who shine when their ‘lights’ go out. I wanted to consult the book in preparation. It’s only fair to compare before you go to the flic, right? Well, bad news. It’s not available in audio within the Halifax public libraries. I doubt it exists in commercial audio format. The ‘charitable’ library (CNIB) might have found some bored Scarbourough housewife volunteer to read/record it on THEIR discs ( the ones they destroy when you return them..but that’s another story and a past blog—-go look), however, I quit my ‘membership’ with that service in protest. No matter. Who needs a book? Full steam ahead, I say! I rang up my AEBC buds to invite them to the ‘event’. Now, I’m wondering…”What was I thinking!!!???” It’s bound to be, umm…interesting. I predict the following; A. (with poor O & M –orientation and mobility) will get lost on his way to the washroom, or worse, fall down the escalator. B will be shocked (devout Catholic) when she hears (despite her hearing loss because the sound will be maxed out for this monster movie on a Saturday) the sex scenes, foul language and violence which ‘Blindness’ promos and ratings promise (I forgot to mention this to her). A. (who has a brain injury) will show up at the wrong theatre on the wrong day, or not show up at all. C. (a smoker) will get wedged in the washroom stall with her walker as she tries to sneak a smoke that will set off a fire alarm. There will be lots of chatter amongst our group during the film…”What’s going on? What does that mean?..” which will cause other patrons to hiss. Opal will need a pee in the middle of the show, so I will step out (requires 15 minutes meandering through a mall) during which time, A. will have had a loud fight with J. (they don’t get along). The reporter (only one will show up from an obscure media outlet) will be awaiting our profound comments and reactions…after all, we are the pros, right? His recording device will fail. That may turn out to be the only blessing, as my motley crew will have no profound observations to make, other than that the sound was too loud and nobody ‘got it’. Oh, yeah…D’s guide dog, the ‘German boy’, that Opal loves so much, will bark incessantly as we depart the cineplex.
ADDENDUM: It has become evident that the movie, ‘Blindness’ seriously impacts the blind community. It is a graphic and some times horrifying film that portrays blindness as a terrible condition that robs its victims of their humanity. It will compound and perpetuate the existing irrational prejudices of blind people which are based on stereotype. It falsely depicts blind people as incapable of almost everything and even suggests that blindness alters the human personality. The complex decision for blind people everywhere is if they will spend money to see it (thereby supporting the film maker) or boycott…or protest…or go, sit and watch until they are disgusted (somewhere long before it ends), disrupt the show as they leave, and demand their money back and then discourage the general public from viewing it…choices to be made.