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Blindsight 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars (20) IMDb 7.3/10

Six blind Tibetan teenagers, labeled by their cultures as sinners or as demon-possessed, join together to climb the northern side of Mount Everest.

Gavin Attwood, Sally Berg
1 hour, 47 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Adventure, Documentary
Director Lucy Walker
Starring Gavin Attwood, Sally Berg
Supporting actors Sonam Bhumtso, Dachung, Jeff Evans, Gyenshen, Stefani Jackenthal, Paul Kronenberg, Kyila, Charley Mace, Steven Mace, Chris Morris, Tashi Pasang, Kami Tenzing Sherpa, Cornelia Tenberken, Sabriye Tenberken, Tenzin, Nguyen-Toan Tran, Ed Weihenmayer, Erik Weihenmayer
Studio Doc Club
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Cody C. Lorance on January 16, 2009
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.
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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.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
What's not to love about this story?! The kids in this film are great, I think my only criticism for the film would be that I would have liked to have heard more from them and less from the adults as they made their way along the journey. I would liked to have known how they felt about all the new exlperiences they were having and to see things a little more from their perspective. I think my favorite part of the film is a scene in which we see them all exploring and playing together at their highest point on the mountain. This is really a story about forming relationships and friendships, finding ones self, learning to trust and becoming a team. I would definitely recommend this film.
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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.
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