Your only guide is a metallic voice. He leaves the mobile, and tells him what is happening in the world. He has lost again in the bets, at three in the afternoon he must take his tranquilizers and there is a call coming in. Jaakko hears everything, but cannot see it. Another day in his blurry limbo. Half-suffering, and almost paralyzed in a wheelchair, he must resort to sounds to orient himself in the shadows. On the screen, the man is alone. But, in the seats, the audience is as lost as he is. Or more. Because the protagonist’s face is clear in the film. Around, however, everything is out of focus. “It is the strangest work of the festival,” said Alberto Barbera, artistic director of La Mostra de Venecia, when presenting The blind man who didn’t want to see ‘Titanic’, competing in the Extra Horizons section. And the creator of the feature, Teemu Nikki, can not compare, but defends: “Our film is quite unique.”
“I always try to put the audience on the same level as the protagonist. This time it was a little more challenging. But it gave the film a special flair, ”the Finnish filmmaker explains by email. He is not without reason. The truth is that he has built a very peculiar work. A few months ago, the movie The father, by Florian Zeller, recounted senile dementia as it had rarely been seen in the movies. The blind man who didn’t want to see ‘Titanic’, now, offers a practically unpublished portrait of blindness. In addition to narrating it, it forces us to bear its consequences.
The format, saving the distances, reminds Saul’s son. There, the camera followed the protagonist and the horror of the Holocaust happened out of the field, and in his eyes. Here the story is more everyday, the film much more imperfect, but it also encloses itself in the face of its character. And it produces, in a way, a similar burden. The viewer struggles to see, gets frustrated, resigns. When Jaakko drops his cell phone, he feels his fear of being isolated. And when the man decides to leave his house, to go find the platonic love with whom he talks every day on the phone, the public shares the vertigo. A simple train ride can be an adventure. Or an odyssey.
The actor, Petri Poikolainen, knew exactly what his character was up against. Because he shares a similar problem, but also the spirit of Jaakko: he has never given up going out. “His role in the script was very important. I checked every detail with him. And the very idea of the story came out of his life. He used to travel alone, blind and in a wheelchair. He said he just needs to trust strangers – I found it both unsettling and inspiring, ”adds Nikki. On a practical level, blinding the camera was much easier: a plastic wrap around it, and some touch-ups in post-production. “In the old school way”, relates the creator. Quite the opposite of his movie.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.