Presented at Cannes 2008, this stunning documentary follows 4 sets of people in their quest for love. What makes their stories worth telling? Their extraordinary circumstances: living with blindness. This films shows us how they cope in their everyday lives and how they manage their relationships.
Directed by Slovakian film-maker Juraj Lehotsky, Blind Loves (Slepe Lásky) is a touching and life-affirming film which does not shy away from showing us the depth of despair these people sometimes find themselves in, and yet managing to give a glimpse of hope nevertheless.
There are various dilemmas shown in the film, this is not a date film about partially-sighted people. Rather, the 4 stories are all quite different, certainly not competing with each other, as there are very few similarities among them.
We follow the life of a musician and his wife, the online quest for a partner by a teenage girl, the socially ostracized courtship between a Roma gipsy man and a partially-sighted woman, and a pregnant woman struggling with thoughts of what the future will hold for her and her baby
There are sublime moments reminiscent of work by the Czech artist Jan Svankmajer, such as a surreal underwater sequence featuring a giant octopus, which is there to visualize music teacher Peter’s fantasy life.
The documentary episode-structure benefits the film, as the viewer is able to concentrate on one story at a time. Touching moments are plentiful, such as a sighted son who takes his blind mother to the cinema and describes what he sees for her, or the way gipsy Miro listens to his girl’s answer phone message over and over (he does not have the option of gazing at her picture…).
Lehotsky is successful in portraying the lives of his protagonists without easy descents into sentimentality, and yet zeroing in on the fact that without the visual distractions most of us have, sightless emotional ties are heightened, making the viewer question the notion of love in the modern age, which is so often image-dependant.
This intimate, revealing movie is also a curiously voyeuristic experience, as we look at the people in it in a way they can never look at themselves. It is a delicate portrayal of complicated lives in the modern world, told and filmed beautifully, with interesting technical touches (the mixture of animation and real-life sequences, the camera angles, the engrossing music) that will keep you spellbound for all of its 77 minutes.
The film is in Slovakian subtitled in English.
Blind loves is released on July 6th