Glasgow Film Festival: Eskil Vogt's impressive debut explores the titular condition
Norwegian writer-director Eskil Vogt's intriguing directorial debut skilfully investigates the experience of blindness and of social alienation more generally, probing the anxieties of a woman suffering from sight-loss who's become physically and emotionally withdrawn, and who fears for her future and marriage. Vogt also ingeniously explores the creative process, as our protagonist seeks to escape the suffocating darkness of her daily existence, plundering and almost luxuriating in her own paranoia; like poking a bruise, she can't resist the lure of her own pain.
We're introduced to Ingrid (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) in her new home – a bright, airy apartment in a high-rise block in Oslo. Caged and cautious, she's suspended above the city in often silent solitude, unfamiliar with and unable to visualise the very space she should take comfort in, struggling to maintain her identity and independence, and growing apart from her husband Morten (Henrik Rafaelsen). We also meet the similarly isolated single mother Elin (Vera Vitali) and Einar (Marius Kolbenstvedt), a porn-addicted loner who longs for physical contact with a woman and observes Elin from afar.
Demonstrating great sensitivity to the plights of its characters, a refreshingly frank approach to issues of sexuality and confidently confronting destructive behaviour, Blind is an impressive calling card for its fledgling filmmaker. Vogt's signature seems to be a playful approach to storytelling combined with a compassionate outlook. Petersen makes for a compelling lead, expertly communicating Ingrid's vulnerability and her unease in her own skin and surroundings. Blind is a fascinating journey into the mind and body of an outsider, with generous helpings of cinematic audacity, mischief and trickery.
Screening at Glasgow Film Theatre, Fri 20 Feb and Sat 21 Feb, as part of Glasgow Film Festival 2015. Selected release from Fri 27 Mar.