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June 29, 2015

DVDFilm + EntertainmentReview | by Francesco Cerniglia

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Set in Norway, Blind lets us enter the world of Ingrid (Ellen Dorrit Petersen), a woman who is losing her sight. She succumbs to it, and instead of carrying on with her life as normal, she becomes an extra piece of furniture in her flat which she shares with her husband. She remembers her favourite restaurant, the shopping centre close by and the interior of her home, everything else she has to imagine.

Day by day, she sits by the window which looks out to the beautiful city, and day by day Ingrid opens her laptop and writes. It is only half way through the film that we discover Ingrid is a writer /storyteller despite the continuous monologue from the beginning of the film.

Strange occurrences begin to happen which warps our sense of reality versus fantasy within the film. It starts off with minor cuts to Ingrid’s husband, Morten (Henrik Rafaelson). Is he there, sitting silently, trying devilishly hard to avoid any interaction with his wife? Or isn’t he? We are unsure. Ingrid is unsure also. She calls out hesitantly, expecting an answer. She gets none.

We also meet two central characters to Ingrid’s story: Elin, a Swedish single mother and Einar, her porn-obsessed neighbour. Einar spies on Elin through the flat windows; he imagines touching her hair and what it would feel like to be held by a woman.

In Ingrid’s own words (through the monologue), he knows every type of a woman’s body by sight, but not by touch. He is the personification of loneliness because of his anxiety issues. Elin, on the other hand is lonely because she doesn’t know anybody in this new city. She turns to her laptop and online chatting where she meets Ingrid’s husband.

This is where things delve creatively, thus making Eskil Vogt’s directorial debut a stunning masterpiece and it’s no surprise the Norwegian filmmaker has won the screenwriting award in the World Cinema Dramatic competition at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Ingrid’s sense of reality is pushed to the brink as she becomes a puppeteer to her stringed characters Elin and Einar. As Elin and Morten chat online, Ingrid covers her eyes which takes Elin’s sight away from her. She is as blind as Ingrid is. She plays an evil game with Elin as Elin’s relationship with Morten grows to a one night stand, thus impregnating Elin; all the while Einar stands back and watches, unable to do a thing.

As the characters change from one person to another, it is easy to fall into Blind’s trap and wonder what on earth is going on. It isn’t until the latter half that you quite understand (but not wholly) what is happening behind Ingrid’s vacant eyes. She wants to be the loving wife and ambitious, exciting woman that she once was. The issue of family is deeply woven into the story surrounding Elin, as is the worry of her husband’s monogamy.

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The editing and camera angles trick us early on. They make us think that one thing is happening when in fact it isn’t. However, later they help us decipher each moment that is Ingrid’s fantasy story when she directly affects the lives of two others. They are characters in her story, yes; but they are also real human beings who live close by.

A poignant moment is when Ingrid and Morten look to the scene of Ingrid slobbed out in her underwear on the couch. They are both characters in the fantasy looking onto the scene of reality: a depressed woman with a glass of wine in her hand and nothing better to do but wish horrible things onto others.

In the end, Blind is a film about acceptance, and more. Vogt has made anxiety and loneliness a very real thing through Ingrid’s twisted mind games and storytelling. Ingrid wants to be accepted, but doesn’t help herself either. She gives up when she shouldn’t until the very last moments when there is an ending that fulfils the acceptance Ingrid has long awaited. Funny, provocative and daring, Blind should be something you watch this summer.

Blind is available on DVD/Blu-ray/VOD from June 22nd

Faye Smith