Blind Sundance

LONDON — Norwegian/Dutch co-production “Blind,” directed by Eskil Vogt, has won the Europa Cinemas Label as best European film in the Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section, it was announced Friday by a jury of four exhibitors from the network.

“Blind,” which premiered at Sundance, will now receive the support of the Europa Cinemas Network, which comprises exhibitors in 69 countries. There will also be additional promotion and incentives for exhibitors to extend the film’s run on screen.

The jury stated: “ ‘Blind’ is a breath of fresh air — an original debut feature with a really interesting approach to narrative structure. The film teases the audience, playing with notions of fantasy and reality. Above all, it is an arthouse film that will engage with and provoke debate among the younger audience — a welcome counter-point to the predominance of middle-aged dramas.”

Vogt is director and screenwriter; producers are Hans-Jorgen Osnes and Sigve Endresen; co-producers are Derk-Jan Warrink, Leontine Petit and Joost de Vries. Oslo’s Motlys produced the pic, which was co-produced by Amsterdam’s Lemming Film. Pic is sold internationally by Versatile.

The film stars Ellen Dorrit Petersen as Ingrid, Henrik Rafaelsen as Morten, Vera Vitali as Elin and Marius Kolbenstvedt as Einar.

In his feature debut, Vogt toys with illusion and reality, pursuing plot conventions to the point of absurdity.

The film centers on Ingrid, who is blind. She lives with her husband Morten. As soon as he is out of the house, she sits at the window with a cup of tea listening to the radio or to the sounds that surround her. Her fear of leaving the apartment grows. She suspects that her husband sometimes stays at home secretly in order to observe her. Or perhaps he chats online with a mistress whilst sitting next to her in bed, pretending to answer business emails.

Einar has a penchant for internet porn and women with long hair, but he’s too shy to approach anyone.

Elin lives opposite him and has nobody to call her own except for her child, who spends most of the time with the child’s father.

Ingrid’s life is connected to the lives of Einar and Elin. They seem to share some of her fears and at one point even her blindness. Ingrid is aware of Einar’s and Elin’s sexual desires, and Elin is familiar with Ingrid’s preferences. Or are these two just figments of Ingrid’s imagination?

Vogt, who was born in Norway, graduated in directing from La Femis in Paris, and has directed a number of shorts, one of which was nominated for a European Film Award. He has also had a successful screenwriting career, working with Joachim Trier on many films, including the feature “Oslo, August 31st,” which premiered in competition at Cannes in 2011.

The four exhibitors on the jury were: Hronn Sveinsdottir, Bio Paradis, Reykjavik (Iceland), Matthias Stuetz, Union Filmtheater Friedrichshagen, Berlin (Germany), Laurent Dutoit, Cinema Les Scala, Geneva (Switzerland) and David O’Mahony, access>CINEMA, Dublin (Ireland).

The Europa Cinemas Network consists of 2,943 screens in 1,111 theaters in 68 countries, including Mediterranean countries, Asia and Latin America. Its aim is to support the programming and visibility of European films outside their country of origin, and to foster initiatives aimed at encouraging younger audiences to develop their interest in European films and cultural diversity.

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