January 28, 2014 : 12:34 am | by Maggie Sanger

Ingrid/ Elm

Ingrid/ Elm

A Norwegian film about a young woman who slowly looses her sight and prefers to stay in the confines of her own home and mind while learning how love and live again. This debut director, Eskil Vogt, said that he was striving to make a new and unique film that, unlike Hollywood, would keep the audience from knowing what was going to happen in the first five minutes. The main character, Ingrid, played by Ellen Dorrit Petersen, is seemingly cold to the audience, which makes it very hard for us to feel any kind of connection to her. The shots are simple and vague, and this minimalism is possibly to allow us to make our own interpretations, but also to allow for a parallel to be drawn as to what daily life might be like in the world and head of a blind person. Every day struggles of dropping, breaking, and running into things seem very insignificant as to the internal struggles of being shut in ones own mind, and one apartment, all day.

At first Vogt has these four characters that twho of which seem to have nothing to do with Peterson and her husband. There is one man, Richard, with disturbing sexual fetishes, and another woman, Elm, who is a single mother on an online dating website. These characters and their stories slowly start to connect and intertwine and the film progresses. It becomes obvious that Peterson wanted children before she went blind and that her partner is no longer sexually attracted to her any more. Her husband, meets Elm in an online chat room and becomes increasingly more interested in her, while Richard, watches Elm from his window every night. To me, this shows a stark contrast between Richard and Peterson’s characters. Online porn, and the Internet, is one of the most visual things we have today. Richard, in a very Hitchcock way, only allows himself to watch from afar, looking through his window and never actually acting on his impulses. Blindness could not be more opposite. Peterson relies on her hearing and her touch to get through her daily life, which, as I said, is confined to the inside of her house.

Towards the end of the story, all their worlds collide and it becomes subtly clear that Peterson is making up Richard and Elm. All of Ingrid’s insecurities, as well as sexual fantasies, are allowed to come to life in her mind where they no longer have a place in her life now. She comes to terms with the fact that she has a wild, and deeply dark imagination and finally, there is a silver lining at the very end of the film where she is able to leave her house. This ultimately changes her thoughts and she is able to get out of her head, in turn, changing the fates of her two fictitious characters, Richard and Elm.

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