Blind, tell me what you see and I'll tell you who you are
by Domenico La Porta
- Discovered in Sundance where he was distinguished for his screenplay, the first film presented as a director by Eskil Vogt of Norway is screened in the Panorama section of the Berlinale
The 64th edition of the Berlinale will give European audiences the chance to discover other aspects of this screenwriter and a loyal collaborator with Joachim Trier. The director of Oslo, August 31st [+see also:
interview: Joachim Trier
film profile] has, in fact, produced Blind [+see also:
interview: Eskil Vogt
interview: Eskil Vogt
film profile], a sensorial experience which describes with depth and inventiveness the inner life of a young woman who has lost her sight and for whom the descriptive memory of things and places gradually fades away. An impressive first film as a director for the Norwegian Eskil Vogt.
Since losing her sight, Ingrid (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) lives shut away in her home. She spends her days listening to sounds from the outside world, reaching her through the window of her apartment. Immersed in her thoughts and memories, she opens her eyes on her inner world that she "sees" tinted by repressed desires. She embarks upon a literary (for lack of it being literal) reconstitution of her life in which she redistributes the roles, starting with that of her "very boring" husband, Morten (Henrik Rafaelsen), who could finally quite well be having an extra-marital relationship that she imagines on the basis of snatches of sound... And to balance the non-seeing person she has become, Ingrid invites Einar into her life, an isolated voyeur who may have been her husband's school friend and possibly an admirer who secretly watched his mistress.
In Blind, everything is in the conditional tense, as the challenge taken on by the film is to place the audience in the skin of a blind woman who "no longer cares about what is real as long as she can manage to visualize it ". Each scene is thus an opportunity to find a successful staging or scenario aiming to carry a narration which could be described as "sensorial". In this respect, Eskil Vogt demonstrates a great deal of humour and inventiveness. This playful approach adds appreciable lightness to what remains above all a drama, that of the disintegration of a couple and a woman isolated by her affliction. The director transports the audience into an experience which is subtly transformed into something other than classic story-telling.
Thanks to the photography of Thimios Bakatakis (Dogtooth [+see also:
interview: Yorgos Lanthimos
film profile]) and a silversmith's work on the soundtrack to which the compositions of Henk Hofstede make an important contribution, Blind creates an impression of floating in which the spectator has no other choice than to let himself be guided by a voice-off taking him for a ride. If the film is occasionally raw and down-to-earth (the pornographic scenes being the best illustration of this particular aspect), it nevertheless remains intellectual and widely referenced, quoting both Norwegian poetry and pop culture, to which pornography in any case belongs. Blind also conveys that Scandinavian coldness which is found even in the facial features of the lead actress, beautiful, but strange. An excellent casting choice which confirms all the potential of Ellen Dorrit Petersen, discovered in Troubled Water [+see also:
film profile] (2008).
With Blind, Eskil Vogt confirms all the good things admired in his screenplays. There's a very pleasant side to the idea of imagining the next steps in his career which, to date, is not far from perfect.
(Translated from French)