I am 25 years old, have been blind since birth and live in Belgium. I have a Master’s degree in Translation English-Spanish, am a freelance translator English-Dutch/Dutch-English and my main interests include international and UK politics and current affairs, languages and cultures, music, and would you know it, films.
Even though they interest me now, I have only been watching films for a few years. Before that, I could only watch films of which I had read the novels. Back then, I didn’t understand why novels didn’t appeal to more people.
But then, in May 2011, I stumbled upon audio description by chance, a commentary inserted in TV series and films which describes on-screen actions. Apparently the United Kingdom and the United States had been audio-describing films and TV series for a very long time and what’s more, more than 20% of TV material is now being audio-described in the UK and is available to anyone with a digital television. Imagine my utter disbelief and great joy when my first AD DVDs arrived on the 20th of May from England’s green and pleasant land. A new world literally opened up to me and I suddenly felt as if I was actually ‘seeing’ Angels & Demons. And it only kept getting better. Need I still mention that it’s utterly incomprehensible that other countries aren’t working with the UK and the USA to get these AD tracks on our TV stations? (And no, I am not on top of the world because they AD two Flemish TV series a year here.)
Thanks to AD, I was also able to discover more film music. Film scores had first peaked my interest when Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out in 2005 (I watched that film five times in the cinema simply to listen to Patrick Doyle’s amazing score) and discovering, judging and learning to understand composers (thanks to AD) has been a highly instructive experience. I also wrote my Master’s thesis on the interaction between audio description, film sound and sound effects.
Ever since I discovered AD, I have been trying to watch at least one film a week to fill huge holes in my culture (James Bond), and I haven’t touched a novel since. At last I understand those people who told me that books take way too long to read. What’s more, books just don’t have the same effect. Whether you’re Shakespeare or not, the combination of good film music, sound effects and actors (and if you are lucky, a passionate audio-describer) cannot be put into words.
My mother suggested I should start a blog and some of my friends were very supportive as well, so here it is. In my film reviews, I will try to address story as well as music while trying to be as concise as possible. Most film critics do not refer to the music, so I hope to be of use there and apparently folks are interested in the perspective of blind people on films too because the blind film critic on YouTube is very popular, so I thought giving them a written option might be interesting as well. I will try to post at least one or two reviews a week. I have lots of older reviews I wrote for the John Williams Fan Network as well, which I will be adding whenever they appear on TV again. The first paragraph of the reviews will contain general info and an IMDB summary, the rest of the posts will be filled with my musings, rants and random thoughts. Please don’t look for detailed, analyses here (I highly recommend reading Roger Ebert’s reviews for those). I will also not try to avoid spoilers as you can hardly say anything about any film without addressing its plot and I myself never read reviews before watching anything, so you have been warned. Expect disparaging reviews to be a little longer than favourable ones as my disapproval results in more productiveness for some reason. I am also unable to cover recently released titles because we still do not have any kind of audio description in our cinemas. But no matter. There’s still plenty of old material for me and others to discover and plenty of old film scores are just better than those composed today (thank you, Hans Zimmer, for turning everything into thumping percussion and cellos) and the Belgian TV guide usually offers at least one good title every week.
Happy reading and commenting!