Blind Sun is the first feature length film from director Joyce A. Nashawati. It follows Ashraf Idriss (played by Ziad Bakri, Personal Affairs) , an immigrant to Greece who is trying to make it in another country. Idriss is faced with constant discrimination, but presses on in order to complete his job as a caretaker for an expensive villa. In the midst of his house-sitting job, Idriss is forced to deal with a water crisis unfolding in the country and a mysterious stranger who is harassing him and the house he is watching over.
Blind Sun has a lot of positive aspects that showcase the creativity of the director and the passion in the writing, but these are unfortunately overshadowed by some serious issues. First of all, although it is a foreign language film that requires subtitles, the actors typically do a great job emphasizing what is happening through nonverbal communication. In scenes where Idriss is the clear victim of bigotry, there are tense moments that are exacerbated by his and the perpetrator’s expressions.
Also, despite the fact that the film only takes place in a couple of locations, this fact does not stand in the way of the progress of the story. Additionally, Ziad Bakri, who plays the main character, is a fantastic pick for the role. He really sells it in terms of realism and the reactions of what he is having to deal with. Furthermore, there are several well-shot sequences in the creepier moments of the film that really drive the point of panic and horror in the situation home.
However, despite my admiration for elements of the film, Blind Sun falls short on certain other, key aspects. For example, the storyline of the stranger harassing Idriss while he is house sitting comes in spurts in the beginning of the film, and too much time passes before the climax arrives.
In essence, the build-up is too long in terms of interest in the story to the point that there are moments of uncertainty as to what is exactly happening, but not in a good way. Blind Sun is also symbol heavy. There are many scenes that are immediately followed with a symbolic shot, such as a slithering snake or the uneasiness of a dog. Symbols can be used to accentuate a feeling or idea that a director doesn’t want to spoon-feed the audience, but they were just used too much in this film.
Also, because of the ambiguity described above, Blind Sun metaphorically shoots itself in the foot with elements added whose importance are vague at best. For instance, a couple of times after the harasser shows up Idriss finds a piece of a statue that comes into a couple more scenes after that.
Although we may recognize where Idriss saw this particular piece of pottery last, why it is there and what exactly is its purpose is lost in the storyline. Despite the ambiguity issues I can still put together a coherent story line, but I could not tell you what the hell that piece of pottery was for besides being inspiration for one of the coolest special FX scenes in the film.
Overall, Blind Sun has promise with its clever premise, but fails to deliver a cohesive movie that made sense from start to finish. The ending, which is as vague as the rest of the film, leaves no joy or resolution for the struggle of Idriss or even explains what was exactly happening.
If the intention is for the audience to solely interpret the movie as their own understanding that is fine. However, even if the latter is your purpose, in my humble opinion, you should always leave just enough breadcrumbs to help the viewer along.
Essentially, Blind Sun just needed to stick with one gimmick and run with it and I think that would have made it a more enjoyable, captivating film.
Catch Blind Sun when it exclusively releases on Shudder on February 9, 2017.
WICKED RATING: 3/10
Director(s): Joyce A. Nashawati
Writer(s): Joyce A. Nashawati
Stars: Ziad Bakri, Mimi Denissi, Louis-Do de Lencquesaing
Studio/ Production Co: Good Lap Production
Release date: February 9th, 2017
Length: 88 min