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Blindsight [DVD] [2006]

Sabriye Tenberken , Erik Weihenmayer , Lucy Walker    Exempt   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 15.68 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Sabriye Tenberken, Erik Weihenmayer
  • Directors: Lucy Walker
  • Format: Dolby, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Revelation Films Ltd
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Mar 2009
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B001PHDKYA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,920 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Himalayas, BLINDSIGHT follows the gripping adventure of six Tibetan teenagers who set out to climb the 23,000-foot Lhakpa Ri on the north side of Mount Everest. The dangerous journey soon becomes a seemingly impossible challenge -- made all the more remarkable by the fact that the teenagers are blind. Believed by many Tibetans to be possessed by demons, the children are shunned by their parents, scorned by their villages and rejected by society. Rescued by Sabriye Tenberken, a blind educator and adventurer who established the first and only school for the blind in Tibet, the students invite the famous blind mountain climber Erik Weihenmayer to visit their school after learning about his conquest of Everest. Erik arrives in Lhasa and inspires Sabriye and her students Kyila, Sonam Bhumtso, Tashi, Gyenshen, Dachung and Tenzin to let him lead them higher than they have ever been before. The resulting 3-week journey is beyond anything any of them could have predicted. CONTAINS AUDIO DESCRIPTION. SPECIAL FEATURES A Whole New Light, Reaching Out In The Darkness, After The Mountain, Coming To America, Photo Gallery

Review

'Uplifting and gorgeously shot' --Empire

'Blindsight is breathtaking twice over' --Financial Times

'Moving, uplifting documentary' --The Observer

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspirational Documentary. 27 Feb 2009
Format:DVD
This insightful and heart warming film is a absolute must see. The achievements of these young blind Tibetans is inspirational and humbling. Don't miss this.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Missiologically Helpful Film: Blindsight 16 Jan 2009
By Cody C. Lorance - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Recently, I had the opportunity to watch a documentary film called Blindsight. This is a story about six blind Tibetan teenagers (and their Western guides) who attempt to climb the 23,000 ft Lhakpa Ri - that's right next door to Mt. Everest in the Himalayas. And, overall, I found the film to be compelling, entertaining, moving, and thought-provoking. My attention was definitely locked in from the first scene and I was certainly moved by the story of these courageous teens. So, it's a very watchable movie, and I think you've got to start there.
Now let's talk missiology. There are a couple of missiologically significant themes in the film that are worth mentioning here. The first has to do with how Tibetan society deals with issues related to physical disability. Blindsight portrays these blind teens as outcasts from a Tibetan society that provides an explanation for their disability that blends Buddhist and folk religious ideas. Both thaumaturgical (e.g. evil spirits) and karmic (i.e. bad deeds done in past lives being punished in this life) are blamed for their blindness, resulting in a stigma that forces the children to the lowest places in the community. I was especially shocked to hear one Tibetan woman curse two of the boys by saying, "You aren't worthy to eat your father's corpse!" If I had a nickel . . .
A second missiologically significant theme is hinted at on the back of the DVD case in a quote attributed to Entertainment Weekly that mentions the "importance of journey versus destination." I think that in this regard the film does a good job of highlighting the U.S. American emphasis on accomplishment and finishing (represented well by the perspectives and attitudes of the American guides) over against an emphasis on journey. There is one memorable voiceover in which Sabriye Tenberken (the German woman who started the blind school in Lhasa where all the teens lived and studied), talks about how some of the kids had told her that they wished the climb hadn't been so rushed. They felt that there wasn't enough time to smell and feel and listen or to sing songs and tell stories to each other. This is a great example of the difference between monochronic and polychronic values - the Americans pushing the team on and on each day with specific goals and deadlines; the Tibetans wishing to sit awhile and listen to sound of the yak bells or entertain each other with stories. Well, I don't want to spoil it for you, so I won't go into any more details about how this theme is developed in the movie.
My biggest criticism of Blindsight was how the film gradually became too focused (in my opinion) on the Westerners and especially on the conflicts they were having with each other along the way. There is value here, of course, as it allows us to see how unconsciously Westerners can assume a dominant position vis-à-vis non-Westerners. It was particularly interesting to watch what seemed to be team meetings being conducted during which only the Westerners were talking, debating, and deciding. At one point an American guide said, "Well, finally I feel like we're communicating." This is in a tent full of Westerners and Tibetans, but what he meant was that the Germans and the Americans were "finally communicating." I guess I just wished that the filmmakers would have gotten more interviews and voiceovers with the teenagers, so I wouldn't have to guess so much at how they were processing the experience.
So . . . this is a good, compelling, moving and inspiring film that makes just good movie-watching on the one hand, but also provides rich fodder for missiological reflection and discussion on the other. I especially recommend it for use in classroom and training settings. People working in a folk religious or Tibetan context will find this particularly interesting as will those working cross-culturally among people with disabilities.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Straightforward and touching 27 April 2010
By Angela - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
One of the most touching, almost sublime, moments in Lucy Walker's documentary, Blindsight, is a meditative exploration of some ice formations on the side of Mount Everest. The film, which follows blind mountaineer, Erik Weihenmayer, as he leads six blind Tibetan teenagers up to the 23,000 foot summit of Lhakpa Ri (practically next door to Everest's summit), spends a lot of time musing about what they're doing: the challenges of being blind, the importance of building self-esteem in young people, the clash of Western and Tibetan notions of success. As the teenagers and Weihenmayer get closer and closer to the summit, and as things get harder and harder (Weihenmayer is the only experienced mountaineer), a new question pops up: is reaching the summit really the most important thing?

It's then that we have this meditative moment by the ice, when the kids teach the mountaineering crew that sometimes stopping to soak in a moment is much more important than pushing your way through to an arbitrary goal. The joy on everyone's faces, the lilting background music and the vibe of hard-earned peace and contemplation is absolutely lovely. Much more than anything else in the film, this scene captures the bittersweet beauty of what these kids are doing and what it means.

Documentaries are few and far between here in PPCCland, mostly because we have trouble finding them and then, have trouble reviewing them. You can't really talk about characterization, narrative and aesthetics when the film is, by definition, only supposed to document the facts. Of course, documentary-making is just another form of storytelling. Blindsight's storytelling is normally straightforward: a swift prologue-type section with introductions and interviews of the team, followed by a more day-by-day accounting of their trek up the mountain.

Layered over the trek is a back story of one of the team's young men, Tashi, who is the group's outcast and weak link: always trailing behind, he has difficulty during the trek and has an unfortunate background (he was a street kid before joining the Braille Without Borders school). Tashi, who quickly becomes the film's special hero, is moody and troubled, yet also cheeky and joyous. You can't help but root for his success. And in scenes running parallel to his climb up the mountain, we follow Tashi's journey into a remote town of Szechuan Province, China, for a long-overdue reunion with his estranged family.

Tashi's story is occasionally likened to Weihenmayer's background as well: there are touching moments when Weihenmayer remembers his own gangly, awkward youth, his own feelings of being an outcast (Weihenmayer went blind at 13). Watching Weihenmayer's growing closeness and concern for Tashi - especially as it becomes increasingly unclear whether Tashi will be able to make it up the mountain - is very touching.

While there are some interesting discussions about differing cultural attitudes towards blindness, and the dynamic between the American mountaineering experts and the Tibetan kids and workers is fascinating and even a little ambiguous at times, the documentary on the whole sends a crisp, powerful message about working hard and winning big. The simple, humanistic film is much more interested in showing the different back stories of the kids and their different personalities than making any overly-philosophical statement about disability or culture. For that reason, we think this film will be both inspiring and touching for a very broad audience.

*Review originally posted at The Post-Punk Cinema Club: [...].
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars five stars of ragged hope 12 Feb 2009
By C. I. Rowat - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I will not disagree with the previous reviewers about how this film could be improved: there are some odd editing decisions, and - as the previous reviews have noted - various faults: yes, we would like to hear more from the children, and less from the adults.

But these faults may simply be the film's honest exposure of the faults in the underlying story and people: two groups of people that have never met before plan to climb a Himalayan mountain with blind children. While planning and communication in advance can avoid some problems, the real tests will come at altitude.

Whatever the film's faults - and I do not include the open questions that still niggle at me afterwards - this film has moved me like no other in years: at every turn, we see people struggling not just back to their feet after huge blows, but to the roof of the world. We also see the thousand small ways in which, over the years, they have been helped to get to this point. As a result of watching this film, I know that more is possible - and hope that I too might find my Lhakpa Ri. Thank you for reminding me to see.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Journey vs. The Objective 13 Dec 2010
By Fernando Marra Lopez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is a highly moving film in which several Western mountain climbers come together to bring six Tibetan blind children to the foot of Mt. Everest at approximately 23,000 feet. There are many sub-themes that never fully get explored in this film however they are touched upon. For example, the Tibetan cultural stigma of being blind; Tashi, the weakest link in the group of six reuniting with his natural family (As a side note, he confesses in the film to being Han Chinese from Sichuan Province and not Tibetan having lied in order to be admitted to the Llhasa Braile Without Borders School; the return of the youngsters into their home environments and how they changed, matured and benefitted from the experience). However limiting the overall story line and plot are, this does not really deter from the movie being extremely moving and very entertaining.

This is one of the few Western films that even hints at anything negative coming out of the Tibetan culture. I applaud the filmmakers for that limited, yet brutal, honesty. Tibet seems to be held on such a high pedastal in the West, mostly because of its horrific treatment by Han Chinese that one gets the sense nothing, outside of political repression and cultural genocide from without, goes wrong there. Had it not been for the Llhasa Braile Without Borders School started by a German blind woman,Sabriye Tenberken, these unfortunate children would never really have had a chance at a decent life.

Erik Weihenmayer, a blind American mountain climber is known for having climbed the summit, Mt Everest. When he is contacted by Sabriye, he proposes guiding blind children from her school to a summit near Mt. Everest. The journey is what counts in this film even though hey never reach their goal and even though the actual documentary is more focused on the Western mountain guides than the blind children, with the exception of one, Taishi.

At face value this is a film that could have gone further and deeper in so many directions. However, upon deeper reflection, this film is about the human spirit of helping the less fortunate and not giving up on them. It is about realizing that all can learn and benefit together when struggling for a common goal and even though that goal may not be reached, not all is lost. Yes, the kids say little in this film, but what they say, mostly through Sabriye, come through LOUD AND CLEAR. Like what is the rush - stop and smell the roses (in this case feel the icicles and listen to the yak bells). The film suddenly comes to a nice ending, when it seems a couple of the kids cannot go any further for different reasons, and all realize that they exceptional kids have done an extraordinary job of achieving something most in their own culture have not quite done.

This film is certainly inspirational in a teamwork sense and could prove motivational in any training setting. It forces you to think about the less fortunate; what you can teach them AND what they can teach you!! I highly recommend this as it is all in all a great film.

We can all do with a little less ego!
5.0 out of 5 stars Courageous and Beautiful 20 May 2014
By Mike Rudd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A story that needs to be spread. Normal people doing incredible things. Gut wrenching at times b/c of the ways the children are treated by the world but in the end they plow through it and are the ones that display true courage, friendship, and more.
It was a wonderful documentary and it made me so happy to see what they are doing now. A masterpiece!
Mike
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