It doesn’t require Braille, thankfully. Regardless, Blindness, director Fernando Meirelles’s (City of God, The Constant Gardner) latest flick stars Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Sandra Oh, Alice Braga, Danny Glover and Gael Garcia Bernal.
An epidemic of blindness sweeps through an unnamed modern city and forces society to the breaking point. Of course, Julianne Moore is immune to whatever causes the blindness. It’s all shot on washed on film, looks highly stylized and could make for an intelligent thriller, ala 28 Days Later.
This is just a little amuse bushe and nothing much is really revealed. However, we might deduce a lot based upon the book’s plot description.
From Publishers Weekly:
Brilliant Portuguese fabulist Saramago (The History of the Siege of Lisbon) has never shied away from big game. His previous works have rewritten the history of Portugal, reimagined the life of Christ and remodeled a continent by cleaving the Iberian peninsula from Europe and setting it adrift.
Here, Saramago stalks two of our oldest themes in the tale of a plague of blindness that strikes an unnamed European city. At the novel’s opening, a driver sits in traffic, waiting for the light to change. By the time it does, his field of vision is white, a “milky sea.” One by one, each person the man encounters the not-so-good Samaritan who drives him home, the man’s wife, the ophthalmologist, the patients waiting to see the ophthalmologist is struck blind.
Like any inexplicable contagion, this plague of “white sickness” sets off panic. The government interns the blind, as well as those exposed to them, in an abandoned mental hospital guarded by an army with orders to shoot any detainee who tries to escape.
Like Camus, to whom he cannot help being compared, Saramago uses the social disintegration of people in extremis as a crucible in which to study the combustion of our vices and virtues. As order at the mental hospital breaks down and the contagion spreads, the depraved overpower the decent.
When the hospital is consumed in flames, the fleeing internees find that everyone has gone blind. Sightless people rove in packs, scavenging for food, sleeping wherever they can. Throughout the narrative, one character remains sighted, the ophthalmologist’s wife. Claiming to be blind so she may be interned with her husband, she eventually becomes the guide and protector for an improvised family.
Indeed, she is the reader’s guide and stand-in, the repository of human decency, the hero, if such an elaborate fable can have a hero. Even after so many factual accounts of mass cruelty, this most sophisticated fiction retains its peculiar power to move and persuade.
Blindness feels its way into theaters on Oct. 3