For someone who views any type of sport as a crime against nature, just the thought of trekking to the top of Mount Everest is enough to cause me palpitations.
At the end of documentary Blindsight, which follows a group of blind teenagers as they attempt to reach the summit of Everest, I still didn’t have an urge to follow in their footsteps, but I did have a new found respect for anyone who attempts the trip, blind or otherwise.
In Tibet, blind children are shunned by society, their parents and friends believing they are possessed by demons. Hearing about the issues facing the children, blind educator Sabriye Tenberken travels to the country and invites blind mountain climber Erik Weihenmayer to visit them and inspire them to climb Tibet.
Although their is some opposition from the children’s families, many of whom are simple folk who have kept their offspring away from everyday life in case they are harmed by their peers, a group of six youths are soon planning their trip, with help from some world renowned climbers who come to their aid.
Combining a travelogue with an inspirational tale of hope over adversity, Blindsight is a gorgeously shot film which is genuinely awe-inspiring. To the film makers credit they don’t shy away from the tensions within the group that arose as they trek took place. Not everyone agrees with Weihenmaye’s every move, and debates about the children’s safety make for interesting listening.
It’s almost impossible not to enjoy this film, though one could argue that it is ten to fifteen minutes too long in the middle, one too many arguments by the guides detracting from the enthusiasm of the children.
With genuine drama, emotion and humour, Blindsight puts many scripted films to shame, the sheer determination of everyone involved truly life affirming, their hopes and dreams captured on beautifully on film.
Special features include several mini-featurettes – A Whole New Light, Reaching Out In The Darkness, After The Mountain, Coming To America – that update the kids’ lives since filming ended.
- Release Date: 30 March 2009
- Run Time: Approx 103 mins plus extras
- Number Of Discs: 1
- Certificate: E
- Catalogue Number: PAR61302