Losing Sight but Full of Insight in Going Blind

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Going Blind
Directed by Joe Lovett
Opens October 8, Quad Cinema

The word “inspirational” is so overused as to be hackneyed, but writer-director Joe Lovett’s documentary Going Blind—in which he chronicles his excruciating battle with glaucoma while using his experiences to connect with five other people living with degrees of blindness—is exactly and profoundly that. If the scripted voiceovers can sometimes give Blind the feel of an industrial film, and if it becomes a tad dry in segments that focus more on science (detailing the workings of the human eye and technological breakthroughs that will someday aid those living with low vision/blindness), the human component swings it back into the realm of captivating. Lovett’s groundbreaking work for ABC in the ’80s (he produced the first in-depth AIDS investigations for national TV) led to his producing a host of health-oriented documentaries (Fat Like Me; Cancer: Evolution to Revolution) as well as 2005’s illuminating Gay Sex in the ’70s, and he brings his nonfiction expertise to bear here. The film soars when the camera follows a 22-year-old Iraq War vet who lost his sight in a roadside attack, a septuagenarian architect whose experimental treatment allows him to keep working, and, especially, a no-bullshit art teacher who lost her sight to diabetes—with appealing directness and not a shred of self-pity, she says simply, “You learn to work with what you have.”

 
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