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Blindness


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PVR Pictures is all set to release BLINDNESS, a 2008 dramatic thriller on 9th January 2009. It is an adaptation of the 1995 novel of the same name by José Saramago. Internationally renowned filmmaker and Academy Award-nominee Fernando Meirelles (THE CONSTANT GARDENER, CITY OF GOD) brings to life Nobel Prize winner José Saramago’s exhilarating tale of humanity under siege by an uncanny epidemic.

BLINDNESS premiered as the opening film at the Cannes Film Festival on 14th May 2008 which was attended by Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and the film was released in the United States on 3rd October 2008. Director Fernando Meirelles chose an international cast for the movie including Americans Mark Ruffalo and Danny Glover along with Mexico's Gael Garcia Bernal and Japan's Yoshino Kimura and Yusuke Iseya. Other ensemble cast includes Julianne Moore, Alice Braga, Don McKellar and Maury Chaykin.

Produced by Niv Fichman, Andrea Barata Ribeiro and Sonoko Sakai, BLINDNESS is an unflinching exploration of human nature, both bad and good--people's selfishness, opportunism, and indifference, but also their capacity for empathy, love and sheer perseverance.

Synopsis:

Faced with a mysterious outbreak of blindness, governmental authorities quarantine the affected individuals in an abandoned mental hospital. As more patients arrive each day, the hospital cannot properly accommodate them, and systems begin to break down—food is scarce, toilets are backed up, and the dead lay unburied. The nightmare grows worse when a rebellious inmate (Gael García Bernal) resorts to unspeakable violence to take control of the hospital and the food rations for himself. Fortunately for the other victims, when a level headed doctor (Mark Ruffalo) is sent to the hospital after losing his vision, his devoted wife (Julianne Moore) refuses to leave his side and sneaks into the facility despite still having her sight. Together, they lead the other in fighting back with every ounce of strength they can muster to break free of this hellish imprisonment and journey back into the world; a journey that leads them away from mankind’s worst appetites and weaknesses into a world where they hope to once again discover the spirit of human decency that has been lost for so long.





Character Sketch:

Julianne Moore as Doctor's Wife, the only person immune to the epidemic of blindness. Meirelles wanted the character to look more heavyset, so Moore wore a fat suit for her role. The director also gave Moore's character a wardrobe that would match the actor's skin and dyed blond hair, giving her the appearance of a 'pale angel'.

Mark Ruffalo as Doctor. Meirelles originally sought to cast actor Daniel Craig as Doctor, but negotiations were not finalized. Ruffalo said that his character loses the illusion of his self-perspective and perceives his wife as being a person he could aspire to. The actor wore a layer of makeup to appear older and also wore contact lenses to be blind while having his eyes open. The actor said of the experience as a blind character, 'At first it's terrifying and then it's frustrating and then it gets quiet... we're tormented by our eyesight... you don't know this until you go blind... As an actor I suddenly felt free.'

Danny Glover as Man with Black Eye Patch. Glover described his character, 'The Man with the Black Eye Patch comes into this new world of blindness already half blind, so I think he understands where he is within his own truth, within himself. I did feel like this character was very much like Saramago because he is completely unapologetic-he is who he is and he accepts who he is.' Glover explained his involvement with the role, 'When you are blind you try to adopt another kind of sensitivity, so this role is definitely a challenge from a physical point of view.'

Gael García Bernal as Bartender/King of Ward 3, the film's villain. Meirelles followed the advice of Brazilian stage director Antunes Filho and changed the character from the novel by making him more ambiguous, explaining, 'In the book, he is really a mean guy, terribly evil from the beginning... but I thought it was more interesting to have him be not evil but more like a child with a gun.' Bernal described the result of his character, 'I think the King is just very practical, very pragmatic. He appears cold because he is not an idealist and does not see hope, but he is a survivor, the same as all the others.'

Alice Braga as Woman with Dark Glasses. Braga described her character as mysterious, believing, 'While she does sleep with men because it is easy money, I did not want to treat her purely as a prostitute. She starts out quite tough, but she develops very strong maternal feelings.' Meirelles explained that the character's glasses and cascading hair gave her a cold appearance, but through her scenes with the orphaned Boy with the Squint, she develops warmth.

Don McKellar as Thief. McKellar, who wrote the screenplay for the film, had also acted in the past and was cast as the character. The screenwriter described the Thief, 'I like the trick where you think the Thief is a bad guy. He's a pathetic character you first believe is the villain of the piece and then you realize that, no, he's not even close to that. There's something charming about his desperation because, after a point, you meet the King of Ward Three and learn what real desperation is.'




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