[Colorado-talk] Fwd: [nabs-l] Fwd:Blindness-MovieDirectorFernando Meirelles interview

Angela Long angela at sextanttech.net
Fri Nov 21 16:25:58 UTC 2008

Hi everyone,
I'm sorry I'm getting into this a little late. I've been working my tail off
and haven't had a chance to read the posts until today. I'll be quite
honest. I think everyone here has meaningful, honest and well thought out
opinions about this film and what the NFB might or might not have said to
this director. Here's my two cents:

Do I think the NFB asked for script approval and the ability to change the
script? Absolutely. From what I've seen, the NFB is aggressive when it comes
to situations that can negatively impact the blind community. That's one of
the things I like about the NFB. We are willing to stand up and say
something when no one else will. You didn't see the ACB, or anyone else, up
there asking to see the script did you? 

Do I think we overstepped our bounds? That depends on whether or not the
director asked for our approval. My guess is that he probably did not. I
don't think the guy gave a rats behind what we thought or how we felt. So,
we may have stuck our noses in where we weren't wanted, but I feel we had a
right and an obligation to do so. I mean the director may blow off what we
say and call us names, but at least we had the courage and the brains to say

Next, this gentleman feels we are closed minded to protest something we've
never seen. I can see his point, but I have a question for him. Would he
agree with a movie about something like child rape, or abuse if those things
were portrayed as positive endeavors? Would he even see a film like that or
would he protest it without seeing it because it's subject matter is so
reprehensible to him? If he would not see a movie like that then he must
understand that his subject matter, while fine for him and other sighted
people like him, is that reprehensible to the blind community. He should use
what little brain he has and understand why we would protest be offended by
such an abomination on film.

Last, sighted people are extremely uneducated about the blind. I deal with
this every day in my business as I try to promote accessible communication
systems for the blind in businesses, government agencies, and health care
organizations. I cannot tell you how many times I have to explain to someone
about how I access my computer or why soft phones are not a viable,
accessible solution for blind employees. I must do it ten times a day, and I
don't mind. However, it does prove that sighted people really have a limited
knowledge of what the blind accomplish every day, and how we complete the
simplest tasks. Therefore, this stupid movie does more to solidify negative
perceptions and stereotypes, than it does to comment on human nature. That
whole human nature idea is a line of bull if you ask me.

Anyway, I'm done whining for right now. I think Chris is right. We can beat
this horse all day long, but in the final analysis, we did our job.
"Blindness" tanked in the US. I think we had something to do with that, and
we should be proud. By the way, this director claimed to find being blind
"cozy." This just shows he has absolutely no idea what he's talking about. I
have an idea for Mr. Big Time Director (I can't spell his name so forgive me
for not using it) Why doesn't he try wearing the sleep shades for a week, a
month, or a year and see how "cozy" he feels. I'd like to see him try to
take public transportation, or get ignored by some ignorant store clerk. I
wonder how he'd feel then? I'll shut up now and thanks for listening.

Angela K. Long

Phone: 303-339-2048
Fax: 303-339-2055
angela at sextanttech.net

-----Original Message-----
From: colorado-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org
[mailto:colorado-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of RyanO
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2008 7:15 PM
To: NFB of Colorado Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Colorado-talk] Fwd: [nabs-l]
Fwd:Blindness-MovieDirectorFernando Meirelles interview

Arielle, I am not disputing the larger points made by either yourself or
Chris regarding Meirelles' general ignorance concerning the nature of our
movement. I would, however, take issue with this statement you made:

"Whether or not we overstepped our boundaries as a consumer
group, we are a consumer group and need to be respected as such even
by people who disagree with our ideas."

You seem to be implying that the question of whether or not we stepped
outside of our boundaries is irrelevant. I disagree. If we are to be given
any measure of credibility by the sighted public (including Hollywood), then
we must take extra care to stay within our boundaries and afford our
opponents the same courtesy and respect that we would ask for ourselves. We
have dealt with many individuals and agencies over the years who have come
off as pushy and custodial toward the blind. When this has happened, we've
rejected their approach and taken the appropriate steps to counter their
ideas and actions. Is it such a stretch to understand why Meirelles might
have taken the same attitude?

I don't want to speculate on the "bossy" comment since I don't have first
hand knowledge of our dialogue with the director. I am certainly not
defending the movie. I am merely asking if it is true that we asked for
script approval and revision rights. If that is in fact what we did, then
that would have been a miscalculation on our part. Artists of the
right-brain type never like to have their work submitted for approval
beforehand. Such a maneuver might have served only to alienate the director,
possibly bringing our dialogue to a premature conclusion. Again, I don't
know what happened and I suspect the director's comments are not entirely
accurate, but I would be curious to learn.

I am in the process of reading the book and I do believe that it is meant to
be more allegorical than a true depiction of blindness. Meirelles stated
that the film version didn't reflect the allegorical aspects of the novel.
Given this, I feel justified in my protestations of the movie, but I'm not
sure that portions of our resolution last year condemning the novel were 
entirely on point.


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