Everyday Activist - Blind Vaysha (Oscars 2017)

Posted on Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 10:30 PM

Blind Vaysha (Oscars 2017)

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

The National Film Board is no stranger to Oscar nominations. A few years ago one of my clients from the NFB office in Edmonton got to go to the Oscars, because she had produced an animated short that made the final five, but didn’t win. This year two NFB films made the Oscar semi-finals Franck Dion’s The Head Vanishes and Theodore Ushev’s Blind Vaysha, with the latter moving on to the final. Both films are worth mentioning because they speak to mental illness; a difficult subject to talk about and yet with these animations they open up discussion that can be used as a teaching tool or in private therapy sessions.

Blind Vaysha presents a folk tale about a young woman who is effectively blind to the present. With one eye she can see the past and the other she can only see the future. All the village healers tried to help her, but nothing could resolve the issue. In desperation she wanted to gouge one of her eyes out; however, she couldn’t decide which one. While the past was predictable, future scared her. At the end of the film Ushev poses the question, “Are we like Blind Vaysha?”

The film speaks to the topic of mindfulness; staying present in the moment. As a therapy it helps manage the symptoms of pain, anxiety and depression. The approach is so effective and popular that even Time Magazine has a special mindfulness edition. Because we talked about mindfulness in my sessions, I asked my therapist to watch it with me given that it’s only 8 minutes. He enjoyed it enough to ask for notification when it was available to the public and of course was excited to have seen it before the announcement came that it had made it to the final five.

Unfortunately, Calgary International Film Festival didn’t screen this one, though Vancouver had. Calgary had screened The Head Vanishes, which is worth a watch when it becomes available to the public as it talks about dementia as seen from the patient’s point of view. Since Blind Vaysha was on the TIFF top ten animated films, I thought it might screen at the Globe, but I don’t think it did. If you want to catch it on the big screen though, Okotoks: 2017 Oscar Nominated Short Films on Feb 23-24, 2017 will screen all the animated as well as live action shorts, right before the Oscars, which is worth checking out. 



NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.