Blind (2015, Eskil Vogt)

Having lost her sight abruptly in adulthood, Ingrid (Ellen Dorrit Petersen), takes refuge in the comfort of her home and eventually into the discordance of her inner psyche. She projects her own loneliness, sexual frustration and maternal yearnings onto fictional characters in a story she conjures during the day while her husband is at work – or rather as he lurks and spies furtively on her. Maybe, who knows.

The line between reality and fiction becomes increasingly indiscernible the more time Ingrid spends inside her own head. Blind demands concentration, if you blink or look away for a second things suddenly don’t make any sense. Two friends having a conversation over coffee in a café are, without any warning, are now speaking on a bus, for instance.

These on-the-fly story changes aren’t just incidental, they spread to her characters as well. Her main character, Elin (Vera Vitali), we learn has a son who, in the space of just a few seconds and cuts, becomes a daughter at the capricious whim of her author. Elin appears to be much of what Ingrid wishes she still was and who she could become. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pregnant blind woman. Blind mothers have to pull their pram, to avoid pushing it into the unknown, you’d remember seeing that,’ Ingrid – or is that Elin? – muses.

Ingrid pairs Elin with Einar (Marius Kolbenstvedt), an individual who spends his days indulging in adult movies (illustrated in a gratuitously graphic montage sequence) as he pines for Elin from his bedroom window in the adjacent apartment block.

In a sombre scene, Einar, having observed Elin watching a show on the television switches to the same channel. Vogt cuts between the two gazing at their televisions and eating in what becomes an odd yet quietly sad dinner date. Ingrid’s sight may have vanished but her loneliness and isolation is clear as day for all to see.

The final character is in fact Ingrid’s maybe-maybe-not voyeur husband, Morten (Henrik Rafaelsen), who may or may not browse dating websites while his blind wife lies in bed next to him.

The ambiguous nature of what is real on screen and what is a momentary interjection of fictive writing means Ingrid remains somewhat distant and out of reach for much of Blind. The viewer understands her innermost insecurities and worries through Elin, Einar and Morten (played strongly by their respective actors), but it sometimes feels all too hollow and intangible, making it difficult to fully invest in Ingrid.

In spite of this, Ellen Dorrit Petersen gives a measured performance – her pale, stripped down beauty seems like an ideal match for Ingrid who often fumbles around her sparse, plainly decorated home like a blank human canvas.

Eskil Vogt’s directorial debut is an inventive mosaic that outlines him as a filmmaker to keep an eye on in the future. (7)

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