Dir: Eskil Vogt (2014)
Brilliant Norwegian writer Eskil Vogt (Oslo, August 31st and Reprise) makes his directorial debut with this sensory drama which plays with the idea of the creative mind being its own worst enemy. We’re locked in with Ingrid (an excellent Ellen Dorrit Petersen) a woman who has recently lost her sight and whose days consists of the smallest victories and the tiniest defeats. Making a cup of tea is a tense mission and a spilled meal feels like the end of the world. She grasps, sulks, paces out her apartment and ignores her husband’s advice to finally step outside; She believes he skips work to watch her tapping away on her blind assisted writing software, creating a fictional story outside her prison.
This is where the majority of Blind plays out. Vogt seems infatuated with the healing qualities of writing and the real life influences that can’t help but infiltrate them. Subtly at first and then heavier and heavier Vogt helps Ingrid build her world, tinged with sadness and depravity. She invents a porn addicted slob in Einar (a fantastic Marius Kolbenstvedt) and a neighbour in Elin (Vera Vitali), a lonely single mother who hides everything possible from her child. But just as you’re coming to grips with Ingrid’s escapism novella, she writes in her own husband, Morten (Henrik Rafaelsen) as Elin’s online love interest after her imagination gets the better of her late one night.
Cathartic self-discovery and the romantics of it is Vogt’s major concern here and he dips into Ingrid’s story sparingly at first but it becomes almost unbearable in the end; Actions are confused, scenes play out in different locations and Elin’s child changes gender and age several times during the film. As Ingrid invents a terrible humiliation for Elin, Vogt paints the creative process as this forever changing beast, decisions are made and scrapped, changed and stretched but Blind is more than a scribbled down first draft.
The editing is superb (by Jens Christian Fodstad) and the cold observational cinematography (by Dogtooth‘s Thimios Bakatakis) is perfectly pitched and realised. The performances are typically striking and Nordic; There’s barely an outburst or raised voice in the whole film. It’s playful tone nearly gets the better of it in the last quarter but Vogt has crafted a technically stunning first film which begs to be seen. In Blind’s best moment a naked Ingrid presses her self up against the cold glass of an apartment window begging to be seen by a world which is now invisible to her. It’s a touching moment which blows a lot of the more explicit sections of the film away; Although Vogt’s film may not be seen by many, it certainly wants to be.