My Audacity of Hope

Blindness Movie PosterI had a chance to see the movie Blindness this past weekend. A film adapted from “1995 novel, of the same name, by José Saramago.”1 “… [A]bout a society suffering an epidemic of blindness.”2 A truly remarkable premise.

Frankly, it’s a dilemma which I don’t have a hard time envisioning really happening. Granted that exact “epidemic” may never happen. But I can very much see humankind having to deal with an affliction, (1) we have no idea what causes it, and/or (2) we can’t stop. And, as a result, act with total disdain and callousness toward each other.

Not at all my point, but chances are all but certain, when it comes to “fruition,” it will be a result of our own doing, too. Take Swine and Avian flu’s as perfect examples. Sure we know what causes them, they are a result of our intense farming (read: animal confinement) operations, or, more to my side note, they are, indeed, a direct result of our doing. I digress.

But what was so interesting about the movie, to me at least, was the aftermath. And, not at all, surprising was the “social breakdown” occurring soon after the “sickness” went rampant. Personal problems with the films story aside — and, of course, the fact that blindness was portrayed as a “sickness” – it was quite a compelling 115 minutes. The feature was 121 minutes in length, but the last 6 minutes, say, were a rather large let down…

I was, however, a little surprised at — which I subsequently understood — the controversy surrounding the films reception;

The National Federation of the Blind [naming just one] condemns and deplores this film, which will do substantial harm to the blind of America and the world…”3

I can’t necessarily counter that argument. And it’s not my intent to dismiss how any one organization or individual sees or feels any film portraying a segment of the population they belong to, or represent. However, being a “disabled” individual myself, I think, I have something constructive to add.

Casting the Blind in a negative light isn’t, at all, how I saw this movie. In fact, I saw said movie in quite the opposite manner. I saw the film as a testimony to the Blind. The Blind live their lives everyday and contribute, productively, to a society despite a “disability.” And the fact that the Blind are not “uncivilized, animalized creatures”4 is a stark commentary to their strength as amazing human beings. No?

For those who have yet to see it, go watch it, and share what you think.

But for those who have, consider this: What if the main character, “the Doctors Wife” — that is, it would seem, to be her official name in the movie — (Julianne Moore) had been Blind previously to the “epidemic’s” onset, yet still played the exact role as she did throughout the film? Is it really so hard to fathom? I don’t think it is, in the least. In fact I know it’s not. I can’t help but feel not making the movie, in the manner which I just described, was largely a wasted opportunity.

I can only hope the novel was written reflecting such circumstances. Though I’m not holding on to that hope. If José Saramago’s originally refused “to sell the rights for a film adaptation,” but settled because the producers set the film “in an unrecognizable city,” what hope would you have?

But you never know, right? Wish me luck that my “audacity of hope” doesn’t wind up biting me square on the ass, 9 months from now…

  • 1, 2, & 4 The Wikipedia entry for Blindness, the move…
  • 3 The National Federation of the Blind press release concerning the movies release