- Golden Globe Awards
The Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic (Finland)
It’s in his eyes. Jaakko’s eyes are the window to feelings like love, sorrow, frustration, fear, and doubt. But even if the audience can read him like an open book, he can’t see other people. Not in a traditional way, anyway.
The Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic is a movie about blind and disabled Jaakko, who is paralyzed from the waist down and bound to his wheelchair. He talks every day on a phone with his girlfriend, Sirpa. She lives in a different city. They often have debates about the epic romance Titanic. One loves it, the other didn’t want to see it even if he was able. Still, he knows the main characters, Jack and Rose, by name.
When Jaakko hears that a health condition Sirpa is experiencing is getting worse, he decides, for the first time, to travel to her place. Nobody is accompanying him. So, he will need to rely on the help of five strangers in five places: from home to taxi, from taxi to train station, from station to train, from train to taxi and, finally, from taxi to her home. The trip goes terribly wrong, and a thriller starts.
Director Teemu Nikki, who just received the award for Best Director bestowed by his colleagues in Finland, chose to tell the unique story from a blind man’s perspective. He focuses on Jaakko’s face and how he reacts to sounds, voices, or events around him. Everything else is blurry.
Jaakko is played by Finnish actor Petri Poikolainen, who himself suffers from aggressive multiple sclerosis. Apart from the fact that the main character has the same affliction as Poikolainen, the script is fictional. Actually, Jaakko might share more characteristics with director Nikki. He has a great sense of humor. He’s romantic. He loves movies.
In the Spring of 2019, Nikki asked if Poikolainen still had the desire to act. The actor said yes. Nikki promised to write him a short film, but both the role and the story kept growing. It ended up being turned into a feature movie. The process was informed by a certain urgency, given that Poikolainen’s condition kept getting worse.
In interviews given to the media in Finland, Poikolainen said that this is his first and possibly last leading role in a movie. It’s also, more than likely, his last job as an actor. He is ending his career on a high note.
The Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic won an audience award, Orizzonti Extra, at the 2021 edition of the Venice Film Festival. Nikki has previously directed movies like Euthanizer, a drama about a man who euthanizes animals; and Nimby, a story about a lesbian couple considering coming out of the closet.