Films & Schedules

  • Blindness

  • Fernando Meirelles

English, Japanese
121 minutes

Production Company:
Rhombus Media/O2 Films
Executive Producer:
Gail Egan, Simon Channing Williams, Tom Yoda, Akira Ishii, Victor Loewy
Niv Fichman, Andrea Barata Ribeiro, Sonoko Sakai
Don McKellar, based on the novel by José Saramago
Production Designer:
Tulé Peake
César Charlone
Daniel Rezende
Guilherme Ayrosa
Marco Antônio Guirmarães, Uakti
Principal Cast: Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Danny Glover, Gael García Bernal, Alice Braga

Canadian Distributor:
US Distributor:
Miramax Films
International Sales Agent:
Focus International

TIFF Tags: Literary Adaptation 

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Fernando Meirelles's bold new film is an epic exploration of human nature in the face of disaster. Starring Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Danny Glover and Gael García Bernal, Blindness was adapted for the screen by Don McKellar from Nobel Laureate José Saramago's novel of the same name.

It begins when a man inexplicably struck by a white blindness rapidly infects all who come into contact with him. The mysterious epidemic sweeps through the population, leaving its victims blinded by a milky haze, and the city is soon disabled by panic. The first infected victims are quarantined in an abandoned asylum. As they are preyed upon by other inmates and abused by the guards, life inside soon descends into uncivilized madness.

Only one brave woman sees all. Pretending to be blind so that she can stay with her husband (Mark Ruffalo), the woman (Julianne Moore) becomes our eyes and his guide. Fuelled by the fierceness of her love and an unyielding courage, she helps him and the other patients escape, leading them back into the ravaged city. As they journey through barbarity, horror, beauty and wonder, they come face to face with the extremes of human experience and the unknowable limits of humanity.

Despite the extremes depicted onscreen, Meirelles's film is itself a thing of beauty, the whitewashed images providing a visual representation of the victims' experience. Imbued with the same allegorical force that made Meirelles's City of God and The Constant Gardener so powerful, this apocalyptic parable is also a completely original cinematic experience. Taking on Saramago's novel was no small feat, and part of the tremendous success of Blindness is in its creation of unique visual approach to telling this story. Meirelles's powerful treatment of a population savaged by inhumanity forces us to question the workings of our own institutions, the boundaries of civilization and, ultimately, just how much we really let ourselves see.

Michèle Maheux

Fernando Meirelles was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and studied architecture at the University of São Paulo. His films include Maids (01), City of God (02), which won a Visions Award – Special Citation at the 2002 Festival, The Constant Gardener (05) and Blindness (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award