Daria Gamliel for Cinetalk.net

Sergio Morkin’s Maricarmen is a documentary based on Maricarmen Graue’s autobiography. Graue is a cellist, a music teacher, a marathon runner, a daughter, an independent woman. And she is blind.

Morkin, who is also the cinematographer, makes use of blurred long shots and closeups of Maricarmen’s hands doing tasks such as opening door locks. The poignancy of the film lies somewhere between its warm observations of life, and its harsh lessons about life’s unfairness. Maricarmen explains her blindness as a nothingness that refuses to be nothing. Life all around screams at her, I am here! She cannot see it, but she can hear sounds, feel emotions, and even imagine what things might look like.

When she interacts with people, it’s clear she has a wicked sense of humor. But inside her are a lot of unspoken sentiments. Anger, confusion, and sadness all started at a young age. Nobody ever really explained what was happening to her or why she was different. Her mother didn’t have the emotional or verbal capacity to tell her young daughter that she would lose both eyes, one after the other. However, mum did teach her that one must be fearless. One must always be strong. Maricarmen as an adult does exactly that, but her mother’s advice is as much a blessing as it is a curse. Society puts extra weight on her shoulders by trying to make her somehow conform. Her prosthetic eyes are like props for onlookers. Society demands comfortable things. A non-blind costume.

The balance in Maricarmen’s life is that she continues to exist, to thrive, to be ‘fearless’ from the confines of ‘nothingness’. In the end, there is a lot to see in the so-called darkness.

Maricarmen – May 29th, 2021 7 PM

https://reelabilities.org until May 30th, 2021 – Tickets are available online and PWYC (Pay What You Can).