Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Sundance ’14: Blind
a post-Heisenberg world, we have grown accustomed to the notion perception
influences reality, but what does that mean to you if you happen to be
blind? For one woman who recently lost
her sight, the world has become drastically smaller. Yet, she will still exert a
strange influence over it in Eskil Vogt’s Blind
which screens during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
was once an outgoing Norwegian professional, but after the late onset of a
congenital condition robbed her of her sight, she rarely leaves her flat. Her
husband Morten is becoming increasingly frustrated with her reclusiveness. Yet, she suspects he might secretly spy on
her in the flat, at times when he is supposedly at the office or his gym.
fact, Blind’s small cast of
characters can be divided into those who watch and those who are blind. Morten’s
old college crony Einar is definitely a watcher. Vaguely resembling the out of
shape Val Kilmer of today, Einar is an internet porn addict who graduated to
real life peeping. The current object of his fascination is Elin, a struggling
single mother and fellow Swede, with whom Morten strikes up a dalliance. Elin is certainly not a voyeur, nor is she
initially blind. However, through Twilight Zone-like circumstances, Ingrid
might just visit a fearful symmetry on her pseudo-rival.
perhaps not. Frankly, it is almost as
hard for viewers to parse fantasy from reality in Blind as it is for the characters. Ostensive reality is a malleable,
ever changing proposition that often involves nudity. Vogt constantly changes
the rules on us, but for reasons of philosophic uncertainty rather than to
extricate himself from a narrative corner. This is a very strange film, but the
quality of the four principle performances and the oddly mesmerizing vibe help
rehabilitate sexually charged hipster pretension.
Dorrit Petersen is absolutely haunting and maybe a little scary as Ingrid. Likewise, playwright Marius Kolbenstvedt
humanizes the potentially creepy Einar to a remarkable extent. Vera Vitali is
also quite effective expressing Elin’s fragile vulnerability, suggesting a
woman trapped in a stage of arrested emotional development. In contrast, Henrik Rafaelson (somewhat reminiscent
of Michael Nyqvist of the Dragon Tattoo franchise)
has the least to work with as the coolly detached Morten.
Head-tripping movies are rarely rendered as
elegantly as Blind. It is a film that begs for repeat viewing and
obsessive analysis. Despite all the talk
of pay cable television supplanting cinema as the dominant cultural force, you
will only find surreal postmodernism like this in arthouse-festival films. Recommended for mature and adventurous viewers,
Blind screens again this Wednesday
(1/22) and Saturday (1/25) in Park City as well as this afternoon (1/19) in
Salt Lake, as part of this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Labels: Scandinavian Cinema, Sundance '14