The Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic is one of the most unique and interesting movies of 2022. It is a captivating experience putting us front and center into the experience of a blind and handicapped man who goes on a journey to meet the person he loves in person for the first time. It is a smart, sweet, tense, raw, and beautiful film.
Jakko (Petri Poikolainen) is blind and paralyzed from the waist down. Every day he talks to Sirpa (Marjaana Maijala) and despite never having met them in person, he is in love with her. When Jakko finds out that Sirpa’s health is on the decline, he makes the decision to go visit her in person. With his in-home assistant unavailable to take him, Jakko decides to go on the mission himself using only the help of strangers.
Writer/director Teemu Nikki keeps the film simple and direct, which is one of its great qualities. He takes his time in establishing the relationship between Jakko and Sirpa, showing us several phone calls between the two and fleshing out who they are as characters. We really learn about Jakko as a person, how stubborn and tough he is despite his handicaps, how much of a film lover he was before he went blind, and how much he really loves and cares for Sirpa. This all makes Jakko’s journey to see Sirpa more powerful and intense. We want him to get to Sirpa and be with her, yet we know him going alone without any assistance could be dangerous. It also says something about us and the state of humanity if a man relying on the kindness of strangers to get somewhere comes across as a terrifying proposition. But Jakko understands this and rather than be scared, puts his faith in humanity to help him.
Petri Poikolainen gives one of the great performances of the year as Jakko. Nikki’s camera never leaves Jakko the entire film and for most of it, we are only focused on his face while everything else around Jakko is out of focus. This allows Poikolainen to always command the screen and you cannot look away. Poikolainen, who lost his sight and most of his mobility due to multiple sclerosis, gives a very natural, subtle performance that never goes over the top, but one where we understand all Jakko’s motivations and what he is feeling. We feel Jakko’s happiness when he is talking to Sirpa and we see his fear and anxiety when his journey doesn’t go as planned and it all feels real and authentic. It is a remarkable performance and one I will remember for the rest of 2022.
The Blind Man Who Did Not See Titanic is a beautiful film about a man trying to get to the love of his life. Nikki’s stellar direction along with one of the best performances of 2022 from Petri Poikolainen make this powerful and beautiful story one of the hidden gems of the year.
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