Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blind hope

When I first saw the trailer for the movie "Blindness" I got goosebumps. I loved this book when I read it way back when, right after it won the Nobel Prize for Fiction. But then I remembered what Hollywood did to other books I loved. "All The Pretty Horses" was the worst. The movie practically ruined the book for me. Luckily, I was able to put the movie out of my mind. (I just pretend it never happened.)

Written by Jose Saramago, it was translated from Portuguese. Even though the hardbound copy is only 293 pages long, the book took me a long time to get through. Saramago can be difficult to read. He doesn't signify dialogue with quotation marks, and punctuation is sort of random, so everything kind of flows together. But even now, just rifling through the pages of my copy, I'm drawn to read passages again.

"What are you thinking of, asked the girl with dark glasses, worried when she heard the snipping of the scissors cutting off her hair, If your parents were to return, they would find hanging from the door handle a lock of hair, who else could it possibly belong to but their daughter, asked the doctor's wife, You make me want to weep, said the girl with the dark glasses, and she had no sooner said it, than she lowered her head over the folded arms on her knees and gave in to her sorrows, her sadness, to the emotions aroused by the suggestion made by the doctor's wife, then she noticed, without knowing by what emotional route she had arrived there, that she was also crying for the old woman on the first floor, the eater of raw meat, the horrible witch, who with her dead hand had restored to her the keys to the flat."

Because of the difficulty of the material, and because it's so good, I really worry what Hollywood is going to do with this story. The book isn't a horror story in that it isn't about ghosts or monsters, but it is terrifying, like any apocalyptic book, in its study of human nature. In the trailer, it looks like the movie makers captured the starkness and desperation of the book. I only hope they can keep that desperation as quiet and meaningful as Saramago did.

The trailer looks good. You can watch it here.

I will see the movie. I will try not to get my hopes up. Oh, too late.