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Scene stealer: 'Blindness'

October 8, 2008 |  3:46 pm


Achieving 'Blindness' ' washed-out look: Cinematographer Cesar Charlone's efforts to get the right look.

The inspiration for the washed-out look in "Blindness" came directly from the source material -- José Saramago's novel -- which described the onset of sudden blindness as an excess of light, looking like a sea of milk.

Cinematographer César Charlone figured out what that might look like by filling a photo developing tray with milk, white paint and water. Then he took images displayed on his laptop and reflected them onto the mixture. There was his look, but re-creating that on set took some coordination.

"It was a whole concept we worked on between the art departments," Charlone says.

Because the film images would be washed out, the reality of the world had to be heightened.

"If you want clothes to look dirty, filming with normal exposure, you put a certain amount of dirt. If you're going to wash it out, that amount is going to disappear. So the level of dirt was much greater." It all took heavy planning, with the costume department showing its work to Charlone two months before shooting. The work continued into post-production. "After Cannes, [director Fernando Meirelles] wanted the cinematography toned down. He thought it was a little bit too stylish. We made it look more human."

-Patrick Kevin Day

VISION: Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo amid the washed-out look of “Blindness.” Miramax.