Cinema usually treats blind women as vulnerable victims. Not this smart, unexpected Norwegian drama. Striking beauty Ingrid (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) is learning to cope after a degenerative disease has robbed her of her sight. Making tea is a challenge and getting dressed involves a talking scanner that tells her the colour of her clothes. But Ingrid still remembers what the world looks like – and if she can visualise it in her mind’s eye, it’s real to her.
The movie in essence becomes a journey into her inner world, full of surprises and peopled by characters she creates, including a shy, porn-addicted loner and a Swedish single mum starting life over in Oslo. Ingrid’s architect husband isn’t as malleable as the invented characters, as her imagination meshes with complex real-world emotions. It’s all presented as a playful cinematic puzzle by director Eskil Vogt’s confident direction and mischievous humour.
Charlie Kaufman fans will lap it up, and though we end up understanding Ingrid’s plight instead of actually feeling what she’s going through, this is still ambitious filmmaking.