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Proof [1991]: A Blind Man’s Anticipation of The World

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Being blind is never easy. There’s a certain kind of emotional insecurity a blind person has to live with every day. There are not too many films that has captured that essence, but Jocelyn Moorhouse’s second directorial venture Proof (1991) does. It is a delightful black comedy about a blind man that never fails to touch a chord.

The story concerns the tribulations of Martin (Hugo Weaving), a blind man who spends his days taking photographs of the world around him, and then having various people describe them to him. He stamps these photographs with Braille descriptions as “proof” that the world around him is really as others describe them to him. He believes that people with vision will take advantage of his blindness, or worse yet, pity him.

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He also rebukes the romantic advances of Celia (Genevieve Picot), his housekeeper. He had become a resentful and bitter person until he meets Andy (Russell Crowe), a waiter in a restaurant and is pleased with the depth and detail with which Andy describes his photos and the two become close friends soon. But not everything will be as it may seem, as some circumstances soon put Martin into dark despair.

‘Proof’ has complex relationship at its core that revolves around three people: Martin, Andy and Celia. It has perceptive views on faith and trust, played out in equal parts of irreverent comedy and touching poignancy. The movie is a close observation of particular lives, perhaps because it exploits so completely the cinema’s potential for voyeurism. It examines how much our perception of “the truth” is molded by others.

Proof (1991) featured and article image

There are adroit little truths everywhere, touching on blindness, cruelty, loneliness, deception and love. The film has suspense in unlikeliest of places and shows director Moorhouse’s knack for psychological twists. The movie required flawless acting, and the cast never disappoints. Hugo Weaving gives a breakthrough performance as a blind man, his acting have a delicacy and a questing, intellectual drive.

At some point, Weaving’s character steadfastly refuses to let his blindness mar his right to be nasty as anyone else, providing us one of the funniest moments of the film. Russell Crowe and Genevieve Picot breathe Andy and Celia to life, supporting Weaving with utmost diligence. Martin McGrath’s cinematography beholds every frame and captures moments with emotion supported by an excellent background score by the acoustic musical group Not Drowning, Waving.

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In the end, all I can say is, a film about blindness could easily get maudlin or, at the other extreme, cynically heartless. Filmmaker Moorhouse manages to find an odd but satisfying niche in between. ‘Proof’ is a powerful and richly developed psychological drama about the leap of faith that is necessary to take if we are to have a full and vibrant life.

Author: Ankush Sen Gupta

Proof (1991) Trailer:

Proof (1991) Links: IMDb, Wikipedia

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