October 1, 2008

Blindness Sparks Protests

According to a story on IMDB.com, the National Federation of the Blind are protesting the release of the film Blindess. In the film an epidemic robs people of their sight resulting in a collapse of society.

Marc Maurer, president of the NFB, is quoted as saying: "The movie portrays blind people as monsters and I believe it to be a lie. The Nfb condemns and deplores this film, which will do substantial harm to the blind of America and the world. Blind people in this film are portrayed as incompetent, filthy, vicious, and depraved. They are unable to do even the simplest things like dressing, bathing, and finding the bathroom. The truth is that blind people regularly do all of the same things that sighted people do."

I can understand the desire to ensure that a work of fiction does not do damage to real world issues, but I also believe that before jumping headlong into protesting something that is not fully understood. Now, I am speaking generally and do not mean to imply that these protests are without merit, I just feel that all too often these protests have nothing to do with the content of said film and more to do with the forwarding on an agenda.

I have not yet seen Blindness, but I think it looks excellent, and with director Fernando Meirelles track record (The Constant Gardner, City of God), I am apt to give him the benefit of the doubt with regards to film quality. As for the content and portrayal of the blind, the people in the clips that I have seen have just lost their sight. I find it hard to believe that they would be well adjusted enough to function normally. Also, this is an epidemic, and being so should be completely understandable that things could turn ugly as they become more frightened.

All I can really say is that we need to wait and see the finished film before jumping to conclusions, besides, the book has been around since 1995, was it protested then?


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