When I was living in Columbus, I was part of a book club.
Someone in the pack picked the 1995 novel Blindness written by Jose Saramoga, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998.
The novel is about a society suffering an epidemic of blindness, which completely shuts down commerce, manufacturing and even (gulp) advertising agencies.
Imagine a world without copywriters?
In any event, a lot of people in the book club seemed to like the book.
Personally, I was not one of them.
For starters Saramoga uses an experimental style often featuring long sentences like the one youre reading now Sometimes they are more than a page long He also fails to use periods and instead connects thoughts with commas Oh yeah he uses no quotation marks to express dialogue He also fails to announce which character is talking or which character is doing a specific action In this particular novel Saramago sometimes abandons the use of proper nouns as well which can be very confusing to a person that simply wants to relax when reading a book Whew
When I was reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road, zero quotation marks around the dialogue didn't bother me at all.
When I was reading Blindness, the above style was very tedious and very annoying to me. More often than not, I would lose my train of thought. Instead of picturing characters and words in my mind, I would daydream about what I was going to eat for lunch the next day. I just couldn't get into the book. And I'm 100% sure it had a lot to do with his writing technique.
Like I said, some people in the group weren't bothered by his style. Instead, they enjoyed a very deep, engrossing, thought-provoking book. Or so I'm told. Maybe they were lying.
In any event, when I found out Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener) signed on to direct a movie adaptation of the book starring Julianne Moore, Danny Glover and Mark Ruffalo among others, I was extremely intrigued.
No, not intrigued enough to read the book again. But intrigued nonetheless.
Check out the trailer below:
My first opinion of the trailer: it reminds me of the movie Children of Men, starring Clive Owen, Michael Caine and, ironically, Moore.
It also feels a little bit apocalyptic zombie like 28 Days Later or even George Romero's underrated Day of the Dead. Perhaps it's because of the bleak, overexposed cinematography from César Charlone - who was also behind the camera for both Gardener and God.
Don McKeller adapted the screenplay from Saramoga's book. Coincidentally, he also co-wrote two of the most underrated art-house flicks I've ever seen in Highway 61 and Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould,
I dunno. Much like my hesitation to see Perfume based on it's title alone, I'm not really psyched to see a movie about blind people called Blindness.
But it does look interesting and compelling to say the least. Plus, it's got a great cast, great director, great writer and great cinematographer. Eventually, I think I'll check this one out just to give these guys some money to continue to ply their trade. More than likely, though, it will be on DVD.
Regardless, I can assure you that it will garner some kudos come 2008 movie awards season.
So...what do you think?
NOTE: Every year, I go on a hiking trip to unknown parts of the nation. Tomorrow, I'll be heading out to the wild-blue yonder of Tennessee to tackle 45 miles of the Appalachian Trail with five other hell raisers pushing 40 years old. Later.