The poster for Blind emphasizes ass. But the film’s provocations are brainy, meta-minded, and often resolutely unsexy.
This is a haunting puzzle of a movie, one to pick at, to unpeel, to see a second time through eyes that have adjusted to it. It’s also alive with tender, tremulous feeling — it’s a tale told by a shut-in, memorializing a world she no longer feels part of. Ingrid (Ellen Dorrit Petersen), an Oslo woman recently gone blind, attempts early on to seduce her husband.
It’s trickier to keep him turned on when he doesn’t have to look into her eyes anymore — as she attempts to entice him, from some feet away, she hears him start to patter on his laptop. He says it’s for work, but we see what she doesn’t: He’s exchanging torrid messages with someone describing the dedication with which he or she would squeeze his balls. Or maybe the husband isn’t doing that at all. Blind is not about us seeing what Ingrid can’t — it’s about her imagining the lives she can’t see. She narrates the lives of lonely men and women who live near her, who peep and sulk and keep their blinds up for cinematic convenience. The drama, at first, lies in whether Ingrid is making all of this up.
The film shows us a porn-obsessed neighbor man (Marius Kolbenstvedt) touching the hair of a woman in front of him on an escalator. That man spies on another neighbor, a blonde divorcée whose son becomes a daughter because Ingrid can’t keep the story straight. Eventually, Ingrid’s visions collide and corrode with horrific urgency, the details all inventive, troubling, and mysteriously resonant.
Written and directed by Eskil Vogt
Opens September 4, IFC Center