Scene from "Blind Spot" (2018)

Scene from Blind Spot (2018)

Blind Spot is a film about the effects a tragedy has on a family. It follows a mother (Pia Tjelta) and a father (Anders Baasmo Christiansen) as they try to understand their daughter’s self-destructive actions and come to realize that she has been suffering mentally for a long time without them noticing it. “The movie’s title, Blind Spot, is revealing it all I think,” says director Tuva Novotny about the film’s subject matter. “The story is about the blind spots within mental illness: What we don't see, what we don't talk about and how we can fill those blanks in order to create less isolation and stigma around mental illness. That is my mission with this movie: To open up the climate around this subject and contribute to preventative methods within the area by saying: ‘You are not alone’. Talking about it helps.”

The film is shot in one single take and in real time – 98 minutes – as it follows two female teenage handball players as they end their practice and walk home through a suburb of Oslo while talking about everyday issues. Nothing seems out of the ordinary. The girls talk as girls talk. They separate and the camera follows one girl up the stairs and as she enters the apartment to talk to her mother. All of a sudden, she is gone from the camera frame. “I actually felt the whole process to be fully liberating,” says Novotny about the one take approach. “That it created a framework where all can and should happen; where the pauses and stumbles and insecurities of the situation become the likes of our everyday lives. On the contrary, I often feel moviemaking and its normal structure of ”cut”, ”reset”, ”action”, to be limiting, because one never really gets into the energy zone of impulses having the time to organically appear, and situations to unravel at the true pace of life.”

However, this approach was demanding for the actors. In particular for Pia Tjelta, who plays the devastated mother and whose performance carries the film. Nora Mathea Øien plays the daughter, Tea. Per Frisch, Marianne Krogh and Oddgeir Thune also appear in central roles. “I would say it brought everyone to their utmost concentration. It also created a situation where both crew and cast had to let go of our normal routines and just dive into it. ”See you on the other side” became very accurate. At the same time; it felt like the world cup finals; the whole set became one, as we all knew we had to perform our best for the hour and a half that the movie lasted. It was an extreme rush and sense of ‘being in the situation’. Which to me is what we are always struggling to create when telling stories; a sense of here and now.”

This is Swedish actress Tuva Novotny’s feature directing debut. She is currently working on her second feature film, Britt-Marie Was Here, based on the book written by Fredrik Backman, who wrote the Oscar-nominated A Man Called Ove. It is the story of a 63-year-old woman who gets divorced after 40 years of marriage and sets out to start her own life by getting her first job ever, sending the message: It is never too late to start again.