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Docu-drama Notes on Blindness provides a powerful experience


Rialto Films have acquired Notes on Blindness for release in Australia and New Zealand. It will receive a DVD release April 19.

Boasting a healthy metascore of 75, the docu-drama from director-producer team of Pete Middleton and James Spinney tells the incredible true story of theologian John Hull. Just days before the birth of his first son in the summer of 1983, he went blind. In order to make sense of the upheaval in his life, he began keeping a diary on audiocassette.

Upon their publication in 1990, Oliver Sacks described the work as “'the most extraordinary, precise, deep and beautiful account of blindness I have ever read. It is to my mind a masterpiece.” With exclusive access to these original recordings, Notes on Blindness encompasses dreams, memory and imaginative life, excavating the interior world of his loss of sight.

The condition, understandably, he grieves at first before mining his emotions and experience for rich philosophical insights. Ably the filmmakers bring a wealth of technical virtuosity to sound reproduction to convey and augment Hull's recollections and poignant impressions such as the effect of rain falling outside.

“The tone of the narration is so wrenchingly honest that the film never lapses into self-pity or relies on mystical platitudes,” raves Stephen Holden in the New York Times.

Peter Bradshaw writing in The Guardian calls Notes of Blindness an “absorbing film soberly reconstructs audio diaries that chart theologian John M Hull's experience of becoming blind.” He adds, “It is moving and profound.”