Blindness, by the director of City of Gods and Constant Gardener is an extremely somber and intense show.
I thought the story was really crappy initially. Everyone gets blinded suddenly and then an epidemic of blindness occurs. But once you get past the — disease which is really quite introspective in retrospect, the real story unfolds.
In the un-named state, as more and more pp get blinded, an epidemic was declared. The blinded people get thrown into a quarantine facility, which is poorly supported and they are left to fend for themselves. An extremely selfish gesture -PP keep the things they’re wary of as far away from us as possible so they don’t have to see them or get reminded of them. In the facility, the blind pee and shit everywhere. The place soon turns unbearably filthy. The authorities are not even concerned with the ergonomics of how the blind can organize themselves and makes no effort to set up any form of assistance within the facility.
The organization is left to a doctor and his wife(who insisted on accompanying the husband even though she could see, such true love only to get betrayed later) and with one pair of sight and lots of improvisation, situation got better.
That is, until a trouble-maker appears. The trouble-maker questions why everyone needs to listen to the doctor and declares himself the KING. Together with another originally blind man, they terrorise the entire facility.
This is when you realize that humans function in all but one way when the society is devoid of any form of rules. First, you need a voice and a weapon. With that, you can be heard and there will be fear. Next, you need to secure the food supplies. (the king declared that all the food supplies are to be controlled by his ward)With the food, you basically have absolute power. So you make pp give up their money and jewellery for food. And naturally when the food runs out, you demand women for food.
Typical. We see it played out throughout history under different context but almost always amounting to the same demands.
I liken this show to a sort of a modern day Noah’s arc. It’s like a modern day moral awakening. And when pp start to regain their sight, you get a feeling like you’ve just been shown a lesson (like a social studies class) because nothing physical really happened to the pp in the show. They are just like before when their sight is back but yet a lot of them would have changed.
But then of course, there are subplots. Dr who is altruistic and outspoken about how things should be in the facility, cheats on his wife and of course, the wife being not blind, sees the entire act of fidelity while the audience i.e. me nearly retch in disgust.
There is also love when everyone gets cleaned up and fed after managing to leave the facility n back to the doctor’s house.
And though some papers may comment that its ironic to use a visual medium to portray blindness, somehow, the director manages to tell the story without being too visual and yet fully portrays the cruel and demeaning scenes while evoking the emotions and disgust one should feel.