I’m looking forward with interest to a new documentary movie, ‘Notes on Blindness‘.
The Telegraph writes:
John Hull, a professor of religious education at Birmingham University, went blind in 1983, and spent much of that decade compiling detailed thoughts on the experience of sight loss – a condition he grieved at first, before finding in it much of philosophical value.
His book Touching the Rock, considered a masterpiece by no less an authority than the neurologist Oliver Sacks, is a collection of excerpts from the audio-cassette journal that John began to compile as a newly blind person, attempting to map out the strange new world confronting him.
Now those same recordings, a treasure trove of frontier thought on the subject, have formed the basis for Notes on Blindness, a fascinating documentary from the first-timer team of James Spinney and Peter Middleton.
The actor Dan Skinner, playing John behind a thick black beard and with his eyes typically closed, plays John by lip-synching passages of his testimony – an eerie, slightly other-worldly effect. Since this is not actually John, it puts us in mind of a blind person imperfectly imagining the impression they might be making on the world, just as he describes.
Hull’s wife Marilyn, also present on many of the recordings and with her own perspective to contribute, is played just as memorably by Simone Kirby, who does expressive things with thoughtful silence, not just the words she’s given. John’s anxieties about the quality of life any blind person will be made to sacrifice are hugely poignant, needless to say – he never has any visual reference point for his newly born son, for instance, or the physical changes in his children as they grow up.
But his determination grows, over the course of the film, to grasp the specifics of his disability as an opportunity, not just a setback. In lacking one sense, all the others gain value inestimably; and thanks to one person explaining what the loss of sight entails, many others, listening in, are able to appreciate and ponder more fully what seeing means.
There’s more at the link.
Here’s the trailer for the movie.
I think I’ll have to go see that one. It looks like it might be a whole lot more interesting than most of the dreck coming out of Hollywood these days.