Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blindness (film) is a mixed bag... but a blog about a man going blind is not

After a good run and some light gardening, I watched the movie Blindness. This is the one starring Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, where there's this epidemic where everyone goes blind except Julianne Moore, and the breakdown in society this creates. Out of fear, all the blind people are quarantined in what looks like a ghetto or camp of some kind, and a new society is created within this state of panic, lack of supplies and food, and fear. Moore's character ends up becoming their angel and salvation, and in the end saves a select few from the hell of their ghetto. In the end, people start becoming unblind.

So I can see what they were trying to do with the movie, but I felt very mixed about it. It could have been edited down a few minutes (maybe 15-20?) and some of the symbolism was a little to heavy-handed. "Julianne Moore is our savior and an angel... she's all in white and pale and even her hair is blonde! Yay!"

Blindness also went on to symbolize that without sight, or society breaks down, and that we need to see the differences between us and our surroundings in order to function. Lack of sight makes us all animals, thieves, whores, and generally terrible people. I found this to be a bit insulting, or at least trying to invoke drama.

I guess I wouldn't recommend downloading it from Comcast for $5 like I did, but maybe if it was anywhere from free-$3, that'd be fine. An interesting view, but at the end I didn't feel like I had been moved or really brought to thought.

Photo courtesy of the blog Bye Sight! Please don't sue me or be mad at me.

But what DOES make me think and is an interesting read is the blog Bye Sight!, which is written by a TBTL reader named Gerald, which chronicles his loss of vision. I heard him interviewed on TBTL (I'm a Time Bandit, so I don't know when this interview actually happened. I think maybe April 24 or so?) about his experiences with going blind, and it was fascinating. I wish the whole show were just him talking about his life. I've listened to it twice already, because I felt like I wanted to soak in more of it. Even if you're not a fan of the show, go listen to it because it's that good.

After the interview, I went to his blog and read all of it. I kid you not. I sat there one Saturday and spent about half an hour or so reading his blog. The passages about ordering a cane and coming to grips with having a cane are fascinating. Articles and information about studies on blindness are also a good read. He also has a very dry and smart sense of humor about the whole thing, which I think is incredible. Parts are serious, but then there's a whole episode about debunking myths, which had me laughing very hard. I only wish that movie was as interesting as this blog was, then I wouldn't feel like I might have wasted $5 downloading it from Comcast.

Also, about the photo above, which I got from the blog. That little circle inside the square? That is what Gerald sees right now. That's it. Imagine over the last 15 years going from full sight to that little circle. But he seems to be handling it with grace. I truly don't think if I were going blind I would be, but perhaps over time, I'd get to the point where Gerald is.

So in review: Blindness (film) = eh, okay. Bye Sight! (blog) = really good.

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