So get this… on the same weekend that Bill Maher’s anti-religion documentary Religulous is going to hit theatres, somehow the movie that’s actually generating the most controversy is Fernando Meirelles’ Blindness. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the National Federation of the Blind is planning to stage a large scale protest in 21 states on Friday because of the way it reinforces negative stereotypes about blind people.
Never mind the fact that the movie is based on a Nobel prize-winning novel, and never mind the fact that blindness is used as a metaphor for a larger message here. No, apparently the movie simply “portrays blind people as monsters”. Hey, did they even see the movie? Err… wait a minute. (Actually, according to the article, seven staff members did see an advance screening of the movie, including three who can see. And they were all offended.) I guess it’s hard to put myself in their shoes, but I can’t help thinking that if the movie wasn’t actually called Blindness, it wouldn’t be such a big deal.
Director Fernando Meirelles had this to say: “There are different kinds of blindness. There’s 2 billion people that are starving in the world… It doesn’t need a catastrophe. It’s happening, and because there isn’t an event like Katrina, we don’t see.”