Notes on Blindness
The sounds and images of this great film have invaded my thoughts and colonised my brain since I saw it in November. Without enthusiasm and full of misgivings I went to a pre-release viewing of the film Notes on blindness: into Darkness.
The dread of blanket of blackness descending on our heads is a universal fear. In direct vivid language a gifted writer and theologian John Hull describes his total loss of sight. The last fleeting powers of Hull's sight were destroyed by clumsy surgery. Just before the birth of first child, he is plunged into a world of fear and wonder from which there is no escape.
Listening to sounds in a park reveals a hierarchy of noises calibrated by distance. Rain is a complex orchestra of subtlety and depth, single drops, gushing rivulets, tamping downpours, pattering dribbles, rattling on dustbins.. An organ playing loudly in a cathedral is a thrilling, throbbing sensation of trembling pews and blood tingling vibrations. Blindness was not desired or requested by Hull but he recognises is as 'a gift' that adds richness to the human existence.
Fear and despair overwhelm frequently. In a strange house a child screams. The blind father thrashes around in a hopeless agonised search for the whereabouts of his distressed child. His sighted wife comforts the child and deepens the father's sadness of his helplessness.
Torments come in a dream when sight is apparently restored and the face is 'seen' of a child born after total blindness took hold. The memories of still photographs are better recalled in the world of blackness than memories of events of movement.
The film is an experience that falls just short of pain but ultimately illuminates with the discovery of a life beyond sight.
Thanks to the British Film Institute for facilitating the making of the film and hosting the viewing,