Directed by Eskil Vogt
Having recently lost her sight, Ingrid retreats to the safety of her home—a place where she can feel in control, alone with her husband and her thoughts. After a while, Ingrid starts to feel the presence of her husband in the flat when he is supposed to be at work. At the same time, her lonely neighbor who has grown tired of even the most extreme pornography shifts his attention to a woman across the street. Ingrid knows about this but her real problems lie within, not beyond the walls of her apartment, and her deepest fears and repressed fantasies soon take over.
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★★★½ review by Dirk van Eck on Letterboxd
Twenty-fourth watch of March around the World: Norway. With Oslo, 31 August Eskil Vogt proved his capacity as a writer - with Blind he does so as a director too. Taking up two film-making roles at once, however, hasn’t made his writing less complex. On the contrary, Vogt chooses to take a more ambitious approach by splintering the film’s reality. Ingrid - who lost her eyesight - is retreated to the safety of her home, where her loneliness makes her thoughts grow substantially physical in appearance; a concept Vogt makes excellent use of to blur the lines between cinema and straightforward voyeurism - a theme that is actually touched upon in the film as well. Ellen Dorrit Petersen, who plays Ingrid, turns the beautiful screenwriting in a beautiful experience that is unexpectedly accessible considering its mosaic structure. Blind is a courageous meta-drama: playful, moving and subtle.
★★★★ review by Thomas Ringdal on Letterboxd
Once a month the most artsy cinema in Oslo has a secret screening of a film yet to be released cinematically in Norway.
This Sunday it was Eskil Vogt's Blind. Eskil Vogt is thus far known for being Joachim Trier's trusted collaborator and responsible for the scripts for Reprise and Oslo, 31. August.
His debut Blind, is about a young, married woman whome loses her eyesight because of a hereditary disease. The woman, Ingrid, is played by Ellen Dorrit Petersen, usually a beautiful woman, but Vogt has her bleach her eyebrows for effect, and it really enhances her eyes, as well as completely transform her.
Ingrid refuses to go outside, in stead preferring to sit at home and drink wine, listen to the radio and sometimes write a few lines in a book idea she's fiddling with. These lines become the side stories to Blind, as Ingrid narrates a story about two other people living in her building. A lonely cinephile and porn addict and a divorced single mum from Sweden, with no social life to speak of in her adopted country. She also brings her husbond into their lifes to spice things up.
Through Ingrid, the film's humour gets a nasty streak to it, as she plays with her characters in rather cruel ways, both because of her own issues and out of plain boredom, as revealed in a killer final line.
In my view Blind proves that Vogt has a voice of his own, deserving of more solo projects, and I'm sure this will have the desired effect. Vogt plays with the narrative in ways that prove he has a keen sense of detail, and a wonderfully inventive mind.
★★★★½ review by Eli Hayes on Letterboxd
"To be unable to see must take a toll on one’s self-awareness and one’s self-consciousness. Those with the privilege of sight tend to take the ability to see for granted, not often thinking about or feeling gratitude for what’s been given to them. But what would it be like not to have the opportunity to stare at oneself in the mirror? Not to be able to visualize oneself in one’s mind? It isn’t difficult to imagine that one’s self-image would be affected by such an incomplete sensory experience, as is the case with Ingrid, the protagonist of Eskil Vogt’s wonderful directorial debut, Blind...
"It was a wise choice indeed for Vogt to provide his protagonist with omniscience, for it’s through many of the characters’ internal lives, daily routines and histories that viewers come to understand things about them and care for them. Most of what the audience learns about these characters is a result of the exposition within Ingrid’s narration, but it never feels invasive or as if Vogt is taking the easy way out by merely explaining rather than showing. There are some things you cannot show. The characters within Blind are ultimately very private people, and the only way viewers are ever going to learn anything about them is through some sort of all-knowing voice. It’s in this sense that Blind nearly transcends being only about literary expression, almost feeling more like a novel than a film inclusive of literary themes. In the end though, with a strong visual emphasis on the sensory experience (or sometimes lack thereof) and a gorgeous original score from Henk Hofstede, this is cinema—an imagistic recreation of reality—not merely words on a page."
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★★★★ review by Steve G on Letterboxd
There are some reasons why I can't do a proper review of this.
1) I'm an idiot.
2) I'm really tired.
3) I'm so tired I forgot the other reasons.
So my barely coherent and nonsensical thoughts on Blind are thus. It's a surprisingly playful film and it's a delight to see a film about someone who is blind that isn't just a 'blindnessploitation' film. Director Eskil Vogt seems mostly keen on exploring deeper themes here and quite right too.
It's a film that I thought was about three contests - reality vs. imagination, seeing vs. believing and loneliness vs. freedom. Because of the way it blurs its narrative and small cast of characters across all six fronts, it's a story that isn't exactly easy to pick up and try and make work. Yet at the same time, it was also a story that didn't have me scratching my head in frustration at what was going on.
I think mainly because it's such a delightful little self-contained movie, rich with moments of black comedy that dare you to laugh while at the same time saying that it's alright if you don't want to. The scene on the tram where Vera Vitali sends some text messages made me simultaneously laugh and feel bad for laughing, but I think that's possibly another one of the challenges Blind sets up for us.
I mostly really enjoyed it and the performances, especially from Ellen Dorrit Peterson, are excellent. By the way, whoever researched the porn sites to use in that early scene did a pretty good job - I Shot Myself and Pure CFNM are A grade material. Good work, that person! Oh, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Vogt does next or something.
★★★½ review by Steven Sheehan on Letterboxd
Co-writer of Oslo, August 31st Eskil Vogt marks his debut behind the camera in promising fashion, shades of Gondry and Kaufman showing in his narrative approach. With that said, it is not an easy film to warm to, remaining quite distant and cold for the first two acts, threatening to squander your interest before revealing a much wider context in the final thirty minutes.
This is life as seen through the mind, rather than the eyes, of Ingrid. When we first meet her she has been coping with her blindness by holing up inside the top floor apartment shared by husband Morten. Vogt introduces us to two other loner characters, one a single mum who once divorced loses her social life, the other a middle-aged man, too shy to be in a relationship, finding physical solace through porn. Ingrid narrates their initial appearances and along with husband Morten, the four characters are threaded together through her fears and insecurities.
The film is both a domestic drama and a psychological study of womanhood, disability and marriage, with each one informing the other. Ellen Dorrit Petersen plays Ingrid, whose short, ice white hair and fair complexion, surrounded by a sparse apartment creates a blank canvass that is gradually filled by the etches of her imagination. The marriage is in trouble, distance growing between the two driven by their lack of trust and belief in each other. Stuck alone at home for much of the day, paranoia has become close company, aided too by her struggle to overcome the difficulties posed by her disability.
Working alongside the gradually paced story is a finely crafted aesthetic, moments of surreality shuffling into position almost unheard. The work of Dogtooth and Attenberg cinematographer Thimios Bakatakis is there to be seen in this pseudo-realist visual approach, a dark comedic playfulness that becomes ever more intriguing the more it is introduced. Ingrid's growing mistrust impacts on our own experience, further fragmenting the world we see her existing within.
Patience is required to fully appreciate this complex yet simply presented character study. Perhaps Vogt keeps his cards to his chest a little too long although there is plenty left to think about once you leave the film having seen everything finally click into place. Keep your eyes wide open for this director as he is certainly one to look out for as he develops in the future.
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