Last night I saw the movie “Blindness”. This new Fernando Meirelles feature film was visually stunning, full of unsaturated colors that appropriately depicted the decay of the subjects’ humanity.
I had read the José Saramago novel a few years back: a sudden epidemic of blindness breaks out, the cause is unknown, panic sets in, every social order breaks down and the human nature is portrayed in all its nasty glory. The film depicted the grimness of the ambience rather well. But then the brilliant cinematography hovered above such details that no one could see; can a blind person feel the absolute darkness and straightness of Japanese hair? I thought that the picture showed the filth and the stench, the reduction of the personality to the anonymous. You have a number and you have a profession, but no one knows your name. You are stripped of one element of your identity; you are reduced to one of many. Scary many that is, showing the lowest lows of the human race. Lack of order and rules will bring the primitive out of human beings.
To me Blindness can mean different things; we can all very well get blinded and be unable to see the truth, and be tricked into blindingly following the dear leader, the voice. History has shown that it is too often that humans can be manipulated and be turned into instruments of hate, brainwashed into something extraordinarily alien and violent. And this condition part of our nature.
The character that I have a problem understanding is the doctor’s wife: she is the only one who hasn’t lost her eyesight and the reason of this remains unexplained. She is different, but why? What does it mean? Is she supposed to represent the dissenting voice? It is not that she chose to keep her eyesight. Maybe it means that although she has the obvious advantage to declare herself Queen of All Wards, even Queen of the World for that matter, she chooses to fight from within, she chooses to be one of the disfranchised. She lets her humanity guide her actions, she wants to help the other people overcome the difficulties, she is the universal mother, working at the sidelines with the ultimate goal to nurture the family.
And this is it: there is inherent duality in the human nature; along with the bad comes the good. In tough times humanity rises and people see that by sticking together and helping each other they can pull themselves out of the muck. We have to hit rock bottom, but then we can somehow rise from the decay and the filth, and find our lost morality and see things for what they are.