Author Topic: Blind  (Read 2075 times)

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Just Withnail

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Blind
« on: February 18, 2014, 05:39:51 PM »
+5


Quote from: me, about Joachim Trier
Norway doesn't have many talents like this and it would be a shame if didn't get the chance to evolve.

Now we certainly have one more! Eskil Vogt was the co-writer of Reprise and Oslo, August 31st and has now made his first feature, that won the Best Screenplay award at Sundance and a distribution award at the Berlinale last week.

Trailer

Release: TBA in the states, though likely because of good buzz and the distribution prize.

Directed by: Eskil Vogt

Starring: Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Henrik Rafaelsen, Vera Vitali, Marius Kolbenstvedt

Premise: Having recently lost her sight, Ingrid retreats to the safety of her home - a place where she can feel in control, alone with her husband and her thoughts. But Ingrid's real problems lie within, not beyond the walls of her apartment, and her deepest fears and repressed fantasies soon take over.

wilder

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Re: Blind
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 05:58:43 PM »
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Very much looking forward to this. The trailer is interesting, but the premise makes it sound like it could be great.

N

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Re: Blind
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2014, 06:05:48 PM »
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Yeah that's a good poster.
Anticipating highly.

ono

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Re: Blind
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2014, 06:47:41 PM »
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Great poster.  "Why don't I own this?"  Here's hoping it comes to my neck of the woods, and I don't forget about it by then.

Pubrick

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Re: Blind
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2014, 08:45:19 PM »
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Premise, title and poster show a strong EWS influence.

It's a little blatant.

I'll give it a go.
under the paving stones.

N

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Re: Blind
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2014, 03:38:05 AM »
+4

I think... it could work.

Just Withnail

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Re: Blind
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2014, 06:03:31 AM »
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Fantastic poster.

I was lucky enough to see it at the Berlinale last week. It's a very good film, though not without it's issues. Some performances are a little off, and sometimes its digressions seem to go a little far off track. Although to be fair, these digressions are part of the film's fabric and it takes pride in them. Vogt has said in countless interviews that he wanted to make a very free film, that was constantly going unexpected places (in this sense it's the complete opposite of Oslo, August 31st's extreme linearity and minimalist form). And it certainly does, and mostly it works. Having just seeen it once, most of these puzzling, "off", sequences will probably fall into place in further viewings. Or maybe not and maybe they don't have to. This is certainly not a puzzle film, seing as it's main objective is to take you into the only half logical thought-soups of our minds.

Premise, title and poster show a strong EWS influence.

I think you're quite right, but the films goes about this in a very satisfying way. It's not just reverse EWS with the woman being the insecure one fantasizing about her man out and about. While in EWS the film is the fantasy, with no obvious boundaries between thoughts and real world (except the glimpses of Kidman and the other man), this is more concerned with illustrating the constantly leaping, fleeting aspects of thought and taking us into a very obvious headspace.

As in EWS we're dealing with a jealous protagonist whose mind seems to want to punish them with thoughts they can't control, but in this film these fantasies and mechanisms of thought seem to me to be the subject, and not the jealousy, or the myriad of other emotions that spark a new flow of thoughts. The flow of thoughts being the only real center (in the film, in our lives). Even the blindness-angle plays second-fiddle to this constant flow. The blindness is an extremely well-handled and illustrated subject, but I feel this film doesn't really set out to illustrate the inner life of a blind person, but the inner life of everyone who ever thought something, and then the blindness gives it an interesting angle. But that angle is also just an exaggeration of non-blind peoples states of mind: The main character never leaves her apartment, like nobody ever leaves their heads. She's blind to the world but we're all blind to everyone elses inner lives.




Axolotl

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Re: Blind
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2014, 03:18:10 PM »
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Really liked it.

There isn't really that significant of an EWS connection. This is more concerned with the actual sense of sight itself and with imagination and anxiety, really massive and tricky concerns in scope which force the film by necessity to be freeform and a variety of stream of consciousness that is giddily liberating, occasionally dipping into Synechdoche NY territory.

Eskil Vogt and Joachim Trier should be unignorable names around these parts at this point.

Just Withnail

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Re: Blind
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2014, 07:51:40 PM »
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Agreed about the EWS connection, I just used it as a place to start thinking about the film after P mentioned it. It was never on my mind while watching the film.

Garam

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Re: Blind
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2014, 02:40:26 AM »
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Just watched this, fantastic movie, one of the best of the year i've seen. I watched it as soon as I woke up and was still partly in dream territory, this state of mind suited the film really well. I'll have to watch it again, because it was slightly confusing (in a good way.) Just Withnail's post helped clarify some things for me, but I still need to scratch at it. At moments I wasn't sure if it was light fantasy, some kind of sci-fi steeped in naturalism, or a kind of Neil LaBute moral humiliation tale, with the wife engineering a honeypot with a friend to test her husband, and then destroy him for betraying her.

Axo's right, this guy and Trier (and Just Withnail for that matter) are some of the most interesting filmmakers out there at the minute. Can't wait to see Reprise.

Also i'll say that for such heavy subject matter, it still retained a sense of humour. The self-conscious clarification about Star Trek made me laugh out loud.

Interesting to see Breivik addressed in a Norwegian film.

I was baffled by the comparisons on here to EWS while I was watching throughout, however the closing line of the film was very reminiscent of Kidman's, with it's terse bluntness and sudden cut to black. I think i'd have made that connection without the influence of this thread at that point, but certainly not at any other moment in the film.

Uh yeah. Watch this movie.

Axolotl

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Re: Blind
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2014, 03:18:35 AM »
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SPOILER
Pretty sure everything we see on the screen is Ingrid's invention and every character other than the husband is imaginary. As in she's the omniscient author who's gradually losing her ability to visualize consistently. The house she lives in is inconsistent(hey The Shining), the star trek convo shifts between a train coach and a cafe like 10 times in 3 minutes etc.

The funniest visual gag in the film comes near the end and it's just a black guy riding a bicycle.

wilder

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Re: Blind
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2015, 12:07:49 PM »
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Interview: Eskil Vogt Talks Award Winning 'Blind,' Working With Joachim Trier & The Blind-Woman-As-Victim Cliche
via The Playlist

It's almost exactly a year since Norwegian writer/director Eskil Vogt's directorial debut, "Blind" (he previously had been co-writer on both of Joachim Trier's feature films), won the screenwriting prize in the World Dramatic strand at Sundance, and rode a wave of buzz unusual for a film from that section all the way to another prize in Berlin, subsequent festival screenings, and to distribution deals in territories around the globe. Despite the sheer love with which it has been received everywhere it's played (by us too: here's our A-grade review from Berlin, and Oli put it on his Best Films of 2014 list) and its Sundance stamp of approval, a deal for the U.S. has yet to materialize. "The sales company always tell me 'we're this close to making the deal'" said Vogt a little ruefully when we met him last week at the Göteborg International Film Festival, "but they're holding out a bit."

Meanwhile, "Blind" continues to crop up at festivals, Vogt is at work on his next directorial screenplay, and Trier is finishing up work on their latest collaboration, the English-language "Louder Than Bombs," starring Jesse Eisenberg, Amy Ryan, Isabelle Huppert, Gabriel Byrne, and David Strathairn, which came in at number 26 on our 100 Most Anticipated Films of 2015 list. We talked about all of this and more during our very pleasant interview, which was only interrupted once by a sudden, hilarious blast of Cher's "Believe" in the otherwise silent bar (Vogt: "I haven't heard this since the '90s!").

“Blind" was your first directorial feature, but not your first film. Tell me about moving from shorts to full-length films.
I actually went to film school as a director and, as you say, made short films. And I'd been trying to finance a feature for a long time, so I thought I knew what it was. But really, just the length of it surprised me — it was like sprinting a marathon. It was exhausting. Especially when you are on a low budget, you have no margin of error so you just work all the time, no sleep. My kid was two at the time and started calling me Eskil and not Dad.

Oh dear, so after the next one he'll be calling you "Mr. Vogt," perhaps?
Ha! Well, he's back to Dad now, so hopefully not.

So how about these other features you were trying to finance? They're still somewhere in a drawer?
Hm, I had this script I'd been trying to make for many years. But when I took it out of the drawer I felt I'd moved a little bit on. I think it would have made a great movie if I could have made it back then, but you move on.

Was there anything specific you got from shooting "Blind" that made you feel like you'd outgrown it?
"Blind" made me more aware of, how do you say, it's a very complex female character. Which I found very interesting to explore and I put a lot of myself into that character. And when I went back to the old script, which was from a man's point of view, there is a woman who is very important, but she felt very underdeveloped to me. And I wasn't satisfied with the movie's perspective on her because she was sort of the enigma of the film and I felt I didn't get in deep enough. It would have worked in the film because it's constructed that way, but it felt for me not good enough any more.

I can see why. Ingrid in "Blind" is such a terrifically rounded character. It's seldom we see women drawn so unpatronizingly, and with such a vivid interior life.
I didn't know that people would really respond to that — I just made it and then afterwards, people, especially women were saying "It's so great to show a woman who has dirty sexual thoughts, I've never seen that." And I was surprised. "You've never seen that?" And then I started thinking about it and realized it's true, you very rarely see that part of women. Which is just... weird.

It is weird. And annoying. And unrealistic. But tell me about teaming up with "Dogtooth" DP Thimios Bakatakis — the visuals are so key.
I didn't have a DP I was working with regularly. So I was just... aiming. I sent [the script] out to Thimios' agent, and I didn't hear anything back. So I started looking for other people — using his films as reference — and then suddenly he called me and said "I'd love to do this, when can I come to Oslo?"

What he thought was interesting was he usually gets his jobs because people see his striking eye for composition, because he's so good at that, and "Dogtooth" is an extreme example of that. But what I thought was really right for my film is the way he uses light because it's so simple and natural and neutral and white — there's no artifice in the lighting. That helped me get into "Dogtooth" and "Attenberg," because even when the weirdest thing happens, it happens in my world, the way I see it: I believe more in what's happening because of the way it's shot.

So almost everything was shot with natural light or the practical light sources you see on the screen. He took so many risks! One of the key things was that she doesn't need electrical light, she can sit in an apartment that gets darker and darker and darker and she doesn't see it. And then her husband comes home and turns on the electric light and that contrast… that became key.

And with natural light you get those happy accidents — the light will change during a take. One of the great things about having a blind protagonist is that people become very aware of the sensuousness of everything. Suddenly when she touches something you feel that touch because you are thinking about what she experiences, and also then when you see a change of light that you might not have noticed otherwise, it's almost more touching because you know she is not seeing this.

So when the light in the room changes, in a way it's heartbreaking to me.

That's very true, as is the sad quality where you use shallow depth of focus so that only one part of an object is sharp and the rest falls away. Which calls to mind her line about trying to remember the whole of something by concentrating on the details.
That's definitely one of the things we talked about, how to limit visual information. Because everything we see in the movie is connected to her consciousness. That's also the reason that we sometimes we would empty the room of everything. Sometimes it's just a white space around her and maybe the chair that she's going to sit down on because she's is concentrating on that. And maybe when she sits down there's things in the window that weren't there the shot before. And that might seem to be continuity problems, in fact [the woman in charge of continuity] was very annoyed with us: "I'll never work again!" But the depth of field kept that subtle, you felt it, but you didn't go "Aha! That's clever!" or "That's wrong!"

So yes, shallow depth of field and sometimes just eliminating things from the frame. And not being afraid because sometimes you feel that fear as a director, you want people to believe in stuff, so you tend to clutter it up... putting a lot of stuff in everywhere so it feels lived-in. And we went the opposite way to create a very specific effect.

Speaking of Trier, his next film, which you again co-wrote, "Louder than Bombs" is one our Most Anticipated of the year. What's the status on it?
They're editing it now. I've seen a couple of versions… it looks good, I'm very happy about it.

Do you spend time on set when he is directing?
Less and less. I was quite a lot on set with his first film, less on the second and this one, I actually went to New York for preproduction right until the first day of the shoot, and then I left. I just feel as a writer on set it's like being a father when your girlfriend gives birth: you're so invested in it but you're so not useful! In case something happens and some support is needed you're there but you can't really do anything, mostly you're just not useful.

Will they try for Cannes with "Louder than Bombs”?
If they finish everything in time they will definitely try for Cannes.

And how would you describe the film?
Oof, thing is, our films, they're very hard to pitch. Have you seen "Reprise"? If you just summarize it it sounds like the most boring film ever: two best friends want to be authors.

Or 'Oslo': a guy walls around Oslo all day…
... and thinks about killing himself, yeah! But this is actually a straight family drama of a man and two sons a couple of years after the mother has died so it's kind of a character study with also a grief portrayal. But I think the fact we started writing it between "Reprise" and 'Oslo' means it's quite in between those films. It has the more serious tone of 'Oslo,' but also we experiment a little trying to get into the head of the characters.

And the title, is that a Smiths reference?
We don't think of it as a Smiths reference — he took it from Elizabeth Smart, the poet [whose "By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept" features the phrase that The Smiths borrowed for their album title]. It's just a good title for what the film is about, but if we get the Smiths fans in… we'll be happy with that.

Kinda think you and Trier are already going to get the Smiths fans... But finally, tell me have you your next directorial project lined up?
No, its the early stages of writing still. It's not "pitchable" yet. But there were some parts of "Blind" that had a little suspense element and I found that extremely exciting to shoot and edit. More like Hitchcock suspense than the shaky camera with a lot of noise thing. It doesn't really exist any more, it's dying out, but it's very pure cinema and I'd like to make a film where I have some sequences like that. Even though I don't think it will be a straight thriller. I don't think I'm capable of doing that.

wilder

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Re: Blind
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2015, 05:04:17 PM »
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UK Blu-ray from Axiom Films on July 6, 2015


 

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