Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

"Sight is urgent, immediate, a story spilled out before time can cut it off."

Thirza Cuthand is a filmmaker who has experienced several episodes of temporary blindness. Her brother lives with schizophrenia and, during one particularly bad episode, destroyed his own eyes. In this intense short film she muses on what blindness means for each of them.

Some short films built around a single idea struggle to fill their time; others are bursting at the seams, begging to be expanded into features. Sight in precisely the right length. Its tremendous pace suggests not a need to be drawn out into a prolonged ramble but, rather, an acute awareness of its limits, like the limits of life or opportunity. Thirza's blindness stems from a problem not with the eyes but with the brain. It's unpredictable. If it should become total, she doesn't know how she can continue making films. Sight is urgent, immediate, a story spilled out before time can cut it off.

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The visual part of the film is recorded on Super 8; its jerky motions enhance the sense of rattling along at speed. Images blur; stains interrupt and obscure them, products of age and exposure to light. Thirza describes the first time her sight failed, her desperate focus on the feet of a child in front of her, so she could try to see where to step. Watching, one feels obliged to do the same, to try to keep one's attention, all the time, on some fragment of an image that makes sense, as if failing to do so will leave one hopelessly lost. But this (for most viewers) a new experience of blindness. Thirza's brother flits in and out of her narrative, unseen. People often don't believe he's blind, she says, because he's so independent. Blindness isn't all about stumbling around and tripping over things. But his mental health - she has her own issues there too - makes him feel obliged to limit himself. The perceptions of others constrain his world.

New blindness can be a very distancing, isolating experience, and blind people in both society and film are often pushed to the margins, expected to live quiet lives; this adds to the impact of Thirza's ferociously energetic film. Packed with ideas and strikingly poetic imagery, it grabs the viewer's attention and doesn't let go. It will leave you stumbling, out of breath, looking at the world differently.

Reviewed on: 14 Mar 2015
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The story of the filmmaker’s experience with temporary episodes of migraine related blindness and her brother’s blindness later in life.

Director: Thirza Cuthand

Year: 2012

Runtime: 4 minutes

Country: Canada


Glitch 2015

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