Hugo Weaving, Genevieve Picot, Russell Crowe.
Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse
(Australian, 1991)

"A movie about a blind photographer? Please." That was my first reaction as well, after seeing the description in a video guide, but with nothing better to do late one Saturday night, I stuck with it and was glad I did. The highly original story concerns Martin (Weaving), who has been blind since birth but who takes pictures of the people and things around him, often pointing the camera with the help of the subject. It's his way of controlling and participating in the sighted world. He's always on the lookout for someone to describe the pictures to him so he can make Braille labels for them, and Andy (Crowe), a friendly and curious dishwasher, fills the bill. Driving the plot is a love triangle involving Martin's housekeeper, Celia (Picot), an obsessed servant in the grand tradition of Mrs. Danvers in "Rebecca," and Martin's own memories of his mother, whom he suspects of not telling the truth in her own descriptions of the visual world.

Moorhouse, who went on to direct "How to Make an American Quilt," expertly blends scenes of drama, such as when Martin and Celia attend the symphony, and scenes of brilliant comedy. The sequence where the two men go to a drive-in slasher movie, with Andy describing the action, is a classic. Virtually every cinematic possibility of blindness is touched on; the role of Martin is full and complex, as are the other two main characters. Even the music, though spare, is right. The movie isn't perfect; there are some minor plot holes, and the character is Celia is perhaps a bit too over-the-top, lacking humor or any other redeeming characteristics to offset her grimness. But these are minor quibbles; "Proof" is yet another example of the fine work being produced today by Australian movie-makers.



RATING: 3 1/2

Betty's Views

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