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BLIND FLIGHT

SYNOPSIS:
The true story of Brian Keenan (Ian Hart) and John McCarthy (Linus Roache) who are taken hostage in the Lebanon in 1986. They spend four and a half years together in the captivity of Muslim fundamentalists. Total opposites, the two men discover deep truths about each other and themselves - and even come to find compassion for their captors.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
If for 95 minutes or so we give ourselves over to cinema and live vicariously through the characters and events on screen in front of us, we are in for a harrowing yet uplifting time with Blind Flight. But we have the cinema seat under us to make this a safe harrowing. The two men who went through the experience depicted here had no such comfort. And we know that as we watch. It's one of those films you can't say you enjoy - but like a car crash, you have to look. The trauma is part of our common experience. The humanity they find becomes our own lifebelt as we float in a sea of shared agonies.

Utterly convincing performances and a soundscape that bores into our psyche, Blind Flight is never easy viewing, but it's compelling. It constantly screams the question about humanity: are we intrinsically evil or noble? The answer is not as simple as the question. Like: what is evil? What is noble? What's the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter, other than your own perspective? How you read this film depends on your life experiences; but how it is presented is totally valid.

The powerful and moving story elements notwithstanding, the big question is: is it a good movie. The big answer is: yes. The odd thing is that the book of their experiences was written by Keenan - not the journalist McCarthy (he did collaborate on the screenplay, though).

Blind Flight is the directorial debut of John Furse and screened in the 2004 Sydney Films Festival's Discover section. (It also screened at the London Film Festival in October 2003.) It's a wonderfully realised account of a true story, capturing the nuances of the spirit, not merely relaying the shadows of the facts.

But there is humour, too, black to be sure, as the two opposites - a tough Irish working class lad (Ian Hart) and a well bred English journalist (Linus Roache) are jammed together. Of course, in a Hollywood movie this odd couple pairing would be expected; but that's just because it makes for good drama. Life isn't imitating art: art (including Hollywood movies) learns from life. And in the final analysis, life proves that true friendship is stronger than true faith - whichever cruel god you suffer under.

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JOHN FURSE INTERVIEW

BLIND FLIGHT (M)
(UK)

CAST: Ian Hart, Linus Roache

PRODUCER: Sally Hibbin

DIRECTOR: John Furse

SCRIPT: John Furse, Brian Keenan (book by Keenan)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ian Wilson BSC

EDITOR: Kristina Hetherington

MUSIC: Stephen McKeon

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Andrew Sanders

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 21st Century Pictures

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 12, 2004







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