Finally got to sit down and watch Fernando Meirelles's Blindness (2008). I often wondered how he would transform the apocalyptic world Jose Saramago created in his novel.
I wasn't disappointed at all. Julianne Moore was magnificent in her portrayal of the Doctor's Wife -- letting us feel what she was thinking and feeling in that wretched world that she alone was the sole witness. Through the intensity in her eyes and by how her jaw would be clenched tight, she could as well be mute as the only seeing person in a city where all the people had become blind.
I didn't like Gael Garcia Bernal being cast as the King of Ward 3, though. While he delivered quite a good performance, he didn't quite fit the character I imagined when reading the book. He looked really frail to be the King of Ward 3. Of course, that may be what Meirelles intended -- in a world where no one is able to see anything, size is not necessarily might.
And of course, my having read Saramago's novel Blindness (1995) may have clouded my lenses while watching the movie.
Such a timely read it was then, what with the news about Influenza A H1N1 all over the papers. And with the alarming warnings of pandemic proportions. While there was cause for concern, some of the serious stuff was glossed over by the sensationalized reporting -- moreso on TV. Some of the reports even quoted government and health officials talking about the need to call in the military.
Which brings me to the novel, Blindness (1995), and how it portrays a city and country turning into a version of Hell as one by one the citizens are struck blind. The first few who lost their sight are quarantined in an abandoned mental asylum, with the military keeping watch so that no one escapes to infect others.
But soon everybody, inside and outside the quarantine, are struck blind. And soon humanity becomes its own nightmare. Except for a group of individuals led by a woman, the Doctor's Wife (no name is given her in the novel), who wasn't afflicted with the sudden blindness.
She becomes the only witness to the degradation around her, and sometimes she wishes that she were blind too. But ultimately, she is able to lead her group to a kind of sight -- a kind of hopefulness that lives on in everyone who doesn't forget their humanity.
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