Zacma: Blindness

Zacma: Blindness ★★★★½

TIFF16 Film#7

Reason for pick – Director Ryszard Bugajsk – Interrogation ( haven’t seen it, but trusted LB friends all give it high marks )

Polish director Ryszard Bugajski’s Blindness is a nuanced study of belief, faith, redemption, forgiveness, power and powerlessness. Quite the range of heady topics to deal with in one hundred and ten minutes, but Bugajski wisely steers completely clear of attempts to provide answers, and rather concentrates on illuminating the questions, and this makes the film a stunning success.

Within minutes of the film beginning I was thinking of another Polish film from a few years back, Pawel Pawlikowski’s 2013 masterpiece, Ida, another film that deals with faith and facing the past in post-world war 2 communist Poland. The central character in Blindness, Julia Brystygier, a Colonel in the Office of Public Security back then – with the moniker of ‘Bloody Luna’ – could well be Ida’s estranged aunt, Wanda, a harsh Judge in the same Stalinist regime. There is the same arrogant lack of remorse, but you know just under the surface the inner struggle is turbulent.

Although the small ensemble all deliver great performances, Maria Mamona as the lead is an incredible standout. It takes enormous acting chops for a character to be acting one way on the surface, but struggling with their own past internally, and communicate this to the audience so clearly.

While there are many complex themes being examined, I found one question most interesting.. ‘How can I be forgiven by God when I don’t believe in him?’

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