Teemu Nikki’s The Blind Man Who Did Not Want To See Titanic is going to be a strong contender for Finland’s entry to the Academy Awards. I don’t know if it could go all the way but I genuinely believe that this film will (and should) win some awards and recognition in the upcoming months.
It has already won the audience award at Venice Film Festival which is a huge accolade and gives you an idea of how well received this film has been so far.
Mind you – I say all this before I have even seen Compartment no. 6 and with Games People Play also picking up some accolades at the recent Jussi Awards (where Tove went on to win over several awards)! Suffice to say, Finnish cinema is a having a great year!
The film centres around the character of Jaakko, who is blind and disabled, and from the moment this film starts you are immersed in Jaakko’s world. The credit sequence is detailed in braille, much like you can see in the poster above, which in turn is read out through a robotic voice (and subsequently subtitled for those that aren’t Finnish).
We meet Jaakko as he prepares for his daily routine – his ‘groundhog day’- a call to his close friend Shirpa, who we are lead to has a strong romantic connection to him due to some serious flirting, breakfast, and so on.
Jaakko is immediately a loveable character who uses many movie references to show off his film knowledge, to the extent that when a taxi driver comes to pick him up at one point he declares: ‘Travis Bickle!” and then refers to his nurse as ‘Nurse Ratched’.
From following his daily routine and getting to know him in a short amount of time there is a bond – so when he decides he must go and visit Shirpa you are routing for him but also concerned.
What happens from here on in is best left for you to discover but I had no idea where this was heading. It is both intense and heart-breaking, and made even more fascinating by the director opting to only use our viewer’s vision to be seen from around Jaakko’s wheelchair – including blurring everything else out around him. It is a stroke of genius that completely engages you as a viewer and will stay with you.
Meet the Director and the Star
Director Teemu Nikki knew Petri, who plays Jaakko, from his time in the army back in 1997-98. Teemu had not heard from Petri in over twenty years until one day he called Teemu and told him that he had developed MS leaving him blind and paralysed in a wheelchair (thus making this story of Jaako all the more realistic and emotional).
Before Petri was diagnosed with MS Petri was working as a professional actor who had graduated from theatre academy.
Teemu wanted to work with him and so this story came about. To find out more about the background and insight in the film check out this great interview by Fred Film Radio.
Petri’s performance is ultimately what makes this movie, and clearly his relationship and trust with Teemu work so perfectly to create this extraordinary piece of cinema – get this one on your Nordic watchlist right away!
Feature by Alex Minnis
The Blind Man Who Did Not Want To See Titanic was viewed as part of Finnish Film Affair and Love&Anarchy – the film is continuing it’s festival circuits and we hope it gets a UK distributor soon. We will keep you posted!