From the official Cannes program:

"A city is ravaged by an epidemic of instant "white blindness". Those first afflicted are quarantined by the authorities in an abandoned mental hospital where the newly created "society of the blind" quickly breaks down. Criminals and the physically powerful prey upon the weak, hording the meager food rations and committing horrific acts. There is however one eyewitness to the nightmare. A woman whose sight is unaffected by the plague follows her afflicted husband to quarantine. There, keeping her sight a secret, she guides seven strangers who have become, in essence, a family. She leads them out of quarantine and onto the ravaged streets of the city, which has seen all vestiges of civilization crumble. Their voyage is fraught with danger, yet their survival and ultimate redemption reflect the tenacity and depth of the human spirit."

Summaries like that are usually submitted by representatives of the film itself. Noting that, we may want to be aware that anything which willfully purports to "reflect the tenacity and depth of the human spirit" is probably some seriously pretentious schlock.

Roger Ebert loathed it (1.5 stars)

James Berardinelli was more enthusiastic

Although the film was adapted by Don McKellar from a novel by Nobel laureate Jose Saramago, this general approach to the apocalypse reminds me very much of another film scripted by McKellar: Last Night. In the latter, it is simply a given that the world will end tomorrow at noon. There are no scientific or theological explanations offered for this phenomenon. It's just a given, because the author wants to focus entirely on the behavioral issues. What would people do on the last night of existence? Would they bond? Would they eat rich food and take drugs make love non-stop? Would they take sleeping pills to pass through the final gates without fear? Would they pass the time in quotidian tasks? Would the bad people continue to hurt others until the very end? The premise of Blindness comes from the same core of thought. It is simply not important why the entire world is going blind, nor why the one woman is immune to the epidemic. It just is that way. Period. Granting that premise, how would people behave?

I'd say that the work stands with the best of science/fantasy fiction in that it does not begin by trying to try to push some point of view, then creating a contrived story to support it, but simply sets the premise and tries to figure out what kind of world we would live in if the premise were true. The difference between the two can be illustrated by the difference between the book version of Children of Men and the film version. The book started with this premise: "What would happen to a world without children? What would the world be like 20 years after the last birth? 40? 60?" From that origin, the author tried to picture a world without youth:  the services neglected for the lack of strong backs, the lack of planning for the future, the poignantly deserted playgrounds and schools, the gradually increasing ratio of women to men, etc. That hypothetical world did not become particularly violent because violence derives mostly from the recklessness and testosterone of young males, and there were none. On the other hand, the movie version started with this premise: "Bush sucks. Oh, yeah, and there's no more kids." From there, it was lost because it was forced to abandon the first rule of thoughtful science fiction: pose the "what if" question, then try to answer it as honestly as possible, with the ultimate purpose being to study how human nature adapts to or is affected by unusual or extreme conditions. We don't need science fiction to tell us what would happen if Bush sucked. We saw it under actual laboratory conditions.

By the way, I liked the movie version of Children of God. It was an interesting movie, excellent in many, many ways. I liked the story, but it had almost nothing to do with the original premise about the lack of children. It was a good film, but bad science fiction - because it made no effort to stay true to its premise. It did not really try to picture what the world would be like without young men (and the young women they fight over.)

From that perspective, Blindness is not as good a movie as Children of God, but it is better science fiction. The world it pictures is very much like the world we might live in if everyone suddenly went blind. In one small corner, the isolated hospital ward of the first few victims, society degenerates into brutality. In the real world, given the premise, that sort of micro-society would certainly emerge in some confined places. Jails, for example. In contrast, the streets outside are not filled with brutality, but simply sadness, chaos, and desperation. People wander in search of food and shelter and a proper toilet. Vital services are neglected.

The scenes in the contamination ward are claustrophobic and painful to watch, as Ebert noted, but the movie is very different after the escape from that ward. The scenes on the streets of the city are thoughtful and beautifully realized. That was the point where I disagreed with Roger Ebert's analysis. Like him, I hated watching the horrible events which took place in the isolation ward, but unlike him, I did not dislike the last half of the film. Sure, life is bad on the streets, but it's not entirely without hope. People take joy where they can - exulting, for example, in a warm summer rain which allows them to bathe and gather drinking water. The small "family" that becomes our anchor in the film finds a modicum of peace and even gets to celebrate Thanksgiving - and they truly believe there are things to be thankful for, even in those black times. And the ending even offers a ray of cautious optimism.


This film is filled with nudity. In a world of the newly-blind, nudity becomes unimportant and casual. What difference does being naked make when nobody can see you? Since the print is a Brazilian screener with Portuguese sub-titles (the director is Brazilian), I skipped over the steady stream of unknowns to show Julianne Moore and Alice Braga.

Here is a Braga film clip

Here is a Braga/Moore film clip


Below are some captures of the shower scene. So dark they are almost a waste of time.



  • * Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe).

  • * White asterisk: expanded format.

  • * Blue asterisk: not mine.

  • No asterisk: it probably sucks.


Catch the deluxe version of Other Crap in real time, with all the bells and whistles, here.








The Isle



Jung Sug stars in this highly acclaimed Korean film as a mute female fishing clerk who falls in love with a customer. The resort is a small lake with barges that contain small one-room cottages. People rent them for a variety of reasons, including fishing, sex, poker with the boys and hiding from police. Jung Suh takes them out by boat, occasionally sells herself to them, sells them their supplies, and furnishes them with hookers.

Yoosuk Kim seems to be on the lam - for what, we never learn. For some reason, Jung Suh falls for him. She kills a hooker who has also taken a liking to him, then later, kills her pimp when he comes looking for his girl. The oddest part of the film has to do with self-mutilation. First Yoosuk Kim swallows fish hooks then embeds them in his throat. Later, Jung Suh does the same thing in her vagina.

Clearly, something this dark had to end badly, and it does.

IMDb readers say 7.0 with nearly 4,000 votes, and it won several minor awards, but I just didn't see the appeal except for lovely photography, which was wasted on some ugly events. I found it slow and I never really grasped the character motivations.

Jung Suh does full frontal.


Open Hearts


Sonja Richter and her boyfriend Nikolaj Lie Kaas are newly engaged. He is about to go rock-climbing, and their goodbye kisses on the street end up getting him run over by Paprika Steen, mother of three and wife of a doctor, Mads Mikkelsen. Her boyfriend is taken to the hospital where the doctor works, and is found to have suffered permanent back and spinal damage, rendering him a quadriplegic. He becomes completely withdrawn and belligerent, trying to chase off Sonja Richter. Mads' wife asks him to look after Sonja, and, in the process of doing just that, they become intimate, and Mads falls for her.

This film was made in Denmark under the Dogme agreement, so it is devoid of music, special effects, etc. In fact, it amounts to 113 minutes of heart-wrenching tragedy. Proponents say Dogme has come of age here, and praise the film for honesty and good acting, while admitting that it is rather depressing, and the antithesis of a date movie. Especially depressing was the effect of the affair on the three kids. If you like the sparse Dogme style, and/or enjoy this sort of soap opera, this one is well thought of. (IMDb readers say 7.7.)

Sonja Richter shows breasts in a sex scene.












The Dutchess


Keira Knightley







This section will present Defoe's film clips to accompany Charlie's collages, which are found on his own site.

Today's entry: Celine Delrieu in Pitie pour les Rats








Ashlie Rhey









Caged Heat 3000

Lisa Boyle










Purple magazine again. I love those guys. Lara Stone

A new Lilo collage

Britney Cleavage (nearly a nipple)

Mandy Moore behind the scenes in "In My Pocket"


Film Clips

Beatrice Dalle in La Visione del Sabba

Edwige Fenech in Grazie Nonna

Edwige Fenech in Il vizio di famiglia

The women of Le Mouton Enrage: Florinda Bolkan, Romy Schneider and Jane Birkin

Heather Peace in Ultimate Force, s3e1. This is a great scene, don't miss it!

Holly Willoughby in Here Come the Boys

Kelly Reilly in Joe's Palace

From deep within the vault of hypenated obscurity, Minh-Khai Phan-Thi in Gehetzt Der Tod im Sucher

Tiny Fey in her Vanity Fair shoot