Notes on Blindness at BAMPFA


On Saturday, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive presents Notes on Blindness, a documentary film made by Peter Middleton and James Spinney. The film re-enacts the life of John M. Hull, who became blind in 1983 and chronicled the gradual breakdown of his sight through a series of audio cassette recordings. Actors are used as stand-ins to re-enact Hull’s life in the 1980s, and instead of voiceover, the actors lip-sync to the conversations and narrations from Hull’s cassette tapes. Over the course of an hour and a half, Hull describes not only the loss of his physical sight, but the eventual loss of his visual memory, forgetting the faces of his wife and child and the landscape of his homeland, Australia. Gradually, he learns how to accept his blindness, turning his back on his visual memories and ending his yearning for light. Visual effects like silhouettes and recreations of Hull’s dreams are used to depict Hull’s descriptions of life without sight, allowing the viewer to understand how Hull could describe blindness as “a gift. Not a gift I want, but it is a gift.”

$12, Saturday June 24, 8:30pm, 2155 Center St, Berkeley, BAMPFA.Berkeley.edu.
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