Pros: well done story, inspirational, great background information
Cons: none for me
The Bottom Line: "Soul-born impressions end the blindsight`s schism, And expands the human competence" ~Vintersorg
I am prone to seek out information about climbs on Everest and was pleased to see that Erik Weihenmayer had once again become involved in a spectacular climbing attempt. After watching and reading his story, Touch the Top of the World, I was amazed at his ability to make this incredible climb. In Blindsight he has taken on a completely new challenge, escorting 6 blind Tibetan children to Lhakpa-Ri, second to Everest in height, reaching 23,000 feet. Lhakpa-Ri is located on the Tibetan side of the Himalayan mountains.
Erik became involved with this project after he received a letter from Sabriye Tenberken and Paul Kronenberg, directors of Blind Without Borders, a school for the blind in Tibet. They, along with the students, requested Erik come to the school and talk about his own climb on Everest. He decided to take it even further and arranged for Sibriye, Paul, and 6 of the strongest and most interested students to make this climb with him.
Considering Erik’s own restrictions, he brought together a well rounded group of guides to accompany them. Each student would have their own guide. Sabriye, blind since age 12, would have a personal guide, as well as Erik. It was no small operation. Each person in attendance were well versed in the art of climbing unforgiving mountains. Some may not have been as experienced in dealing with young children, but they all seemed to adapt well.
The climb wasn’t without problems, as would be expected. Several times Erik and the guides butted heads with each other as well as Sabriye and Paul. Sabriye and Paul had the children’s interest and safety foremost in their sights while the experienced climbers were more focused on the summit.
You may not be aware but a blind person, especially a child, in Tibet is considered an outcast, even possessed by demons. They are often accosted in the streets, as is shown in the film when two young blind boys are cursed by a passerby and told they should eat their father’s corpse. Even their own families shun the children, which made this school opened by Sabriye and Paul such a Godsend.
Director Lucy Walker puts a personal face on the film by inserting background stories of the 6 climbers, in their own words, showing their homes and lives before they came to the school and took on this eventful climb. Their stories are both heartbreaking and strike a chord of resentment as we find out how each child has developed. The fact that they tell the stories themselves makes it more endearing.
DVD extras were quite interesting. First is the setup process. The video can be viewed with audio for the visually and hearing impaired, or as a standard DVD. I took a quick shot of the audio portion and it described each frame of the film so the visually impaired could imagine what was being shown. Of course, having always been sighted, I understood what was being described but I wonder at someone that has always been blind and what they would make of the descriptions.
Other extras include a well done feature on audience reactions to the film; a short feature of the 6 climbers as they traveled to America for the premier of the film; a longer feature with updates on all 6 climbers and how their lives have progressed since the climb; and information on Blind Without Borders.
The film was nominated for 4 awards, winning three. It carries a PG rating for thematic elements and language, although it is mild in comparison to most movies today. Filming was well done with some spectacular vistas as well as some bleak ones.
This documentary from director Lucy Walker (DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND) follows a group of blind teenagers as they ascend Lhakpa Ri, the 23,000 foot peak on Mount Everest's north face. Led by renowned mountaineer Erik Weihenmayer, the young Tibetans set out on an incredible if dangerous journey.