Overcoming Incredible Obstacles
Release Date: March 05, 2008
Audience: Older children to adults
Runtime: 104 minutes
Director: Lucy Walker
Executive Producer: Steven Haft
Producer: Sybil Robson Orr
Address Comments To:Richard Abramowitz
22 Green Valley Road
Armonk, New York 10504
Phone: (914) 273-9545
Fax: (914) 273-1351
The movie starts talking about Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind man to have climbed Mount Everest. When he went blind as a young boy, he was determined to show that he was still competent in all areas. Thus, he took rock climbing and that led to his mountain climbing fame.
A blind German woman who is refused admittance to the German equivalent of the Peace Corps, named Sabriye Tenberken, went on her own to Tibet to help blind children in that impoverished, desolate country to fulfill their potential. For some reason in Tibet, a lot of children go blind. She hears about Eric conquering Everest and writes him to see if he would take some of the blind students mountain climbing.
She notes at the beginning of the movie that Buddhism looks upon any physical defect, especially blindness, as a curse or even a demon. The Buddhists shun blind people. This clear report of Buddhism’s elitist attitudes is refreshing. It is well known to those who have studied Buddhism, but most Westerners have no idea how cruel the religion is.
When Sabriye has to visit the parents of the children who want to go mountain climbing, they give various explanations of their children’s curses. One father gave up his son to a Chinese couple so they could use him to beg for money and split the money with the father. When the boy proved no good for begging, they beat him horribly, and he still bears cigarette burns on his body. He ran away, then found a home in Sabriye’s school for the blind.
Eric comes to Tibet with a group of men whom he says are the best blind guides in the world. Quickly, they find these kids have no experience climbing anything, and they are shocked they have to start from ground zero.
Every step up the mountain to visit a peak next to Everest is fraught with trials. At 15-17,000 feet, people can get an altitude sickness called endema that will quickly expand their brains and kill them. Three of the children have to be sent back because of headaches. They weep because they have missed their chance to prove they are just as capable as anyone else.
The photography and editing of BLINDSIGHT has brought it many positive reviews and awards. It is a very captivating documentary that keeps you on the edge of your seat with jeopardy and danger.
One young Tibetan is actually Chinese and has been lying about his identity. When they find his father, it is clear the father lies about the boy too. The boy repents.
This is an incredible experience for these children. Regrettably, they seek the blessing of Buddhist monks and there are several other positive mentions of Buddhist faith, even though it is clear that Buddhism relegates these blind children to lesser humanity. There are some severe arguments and a few light obscenities. And, there are some dangerous moments where the children fall, and the jeopardy is truly scary.
Except for the Time magazine cover discussing Eric’s blind faith and some positive mentions of faith from his father, there is no overt Christianity. However, Sabriye’s ministry to these young people, and Eric’s compassion is the product of a Christian belief in loving your neighbor and that all men are created in the image of God. If you look carefully at the movie, you will note that the Buddhist culture offers none of the love, compassion and other virtues in which the westerners who came to help these kids were steeped.
The photography and editing of BLINDSIGHT has brought it many positive reviews and awards. It is a very captivating documentary that keeps you on the edge of your seat with jeopardy and danger. Regrettably, they seek the blessing of Buddhist monks and there are several other positive mentions of Buddhist faith, even though it is clear that Buddhism relegates these blind children to lesser humanity. The compassion of Erik and the German woman, based on Western Christianity, shines through, however.