This is the debut feature from writer-director duo Peter Middleton and James Spinney, who’ve chosen to have actors mime along to Hull’s original recording and extra audio recorded from retrospective interviews conducted more recently with him and his wife Marilyn.
It’s an unusual format that at first can be quite jarring, but once you settle in to the film’s hypnotic rhythm, bolstered by Joakim Sundström’s evocative but unobtrusive soundscape, what follows is a richly textured and thoroughly engrossing docudrama.
The filmmakers employ a narrow field of vision, focusing on eyes, lips and objects, that goes some way to recreating the close quarters and tactile experience of the world faced by the blind.
Though highly regarded in his field, Hull isn’t much known outside of academia. Nevertheless, erudite and articulate, his candid contemplations offer a genuine insight into a condition that, thankfully, few of us will ever have to experience.
At first, his biggest concern is how he’ll be able to continue with his studies, but as the faces of his wife and children start to fade, followed by his visual memory as a whole, he faces an altogether more spiritual and existential crisis.
At the start of the third act the film’s languorous pace threatens to become a little too lethargic, with few new revelations to carry momentum and engage its audience – but for the most part Notes on Blindness is a fascinating portrait of a father, a husband and a profound thinker.
|What||Notes on Blindness film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
01 Jul 16 – 02 Sep 16, Event times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|