In the 1970s, writer John Hull started going blind, and by 1983, he was completely blind. He recorded a diary on cassettes, talking about the sights that he remembers, and how he slowly forgets what things look like. His family. His home. His whole life.
Hull’s audio diary was published in 1992 and gathered wide critical acclaim. Filmmakers Pete Middleton and James Spinney dramatized the audio diary into a 12-minute short film called Notes on Blindness, which won an Emmy award for “New Approaches to News & Documentary Programming: Arts, Lifestyle and Culture”.
The 12-minute film shines in all areas, from the cinematography, to the non-linear editing, to the immersive sound design, and finally, to Hull’s brooding voice. It all comes together to create something that’s quite extraordinary, a unique take on the documentary genre.
Hull’s voice over offers interesting insights into what it feels like to go blind, and what happens right after someone goes blind.
“After nearly three years of blindness, I find that the pictures in the gallery of my mind have dimmed somewhat.” narrates Hull. “I found to great distress that I could no longer remember easily what my wife looks like, or what my daughter looks like”.
Watch the full film below.