Review: IMAGINE Uses Sounds To Create A Heartwarming Story Of Self-Discovery

Patryk Czekaj, Contributing Writer
Imagine is a fascinating and touching film, a somewhat experimental piece that makes perfect use of everyday sounds, intensifying their overall contribution to the storyline in order to create an eerily claustrophobic, yet truly inviting universe. 

Through a heart-pleasing and deeply intimate story about blind people and their struggle to find a safe place in the community that's more or less indifferent to their situation Andrzej Jakimowski, the director of the picture, lets the viewers, especially all those who are perfectly able to see, experience how essential to our lives are the noises that we hear on a daily basis but not necessarily attach importance to.

Jakimowski envisions his characters in a professional, very prestigious center for blind people right in the heart of a small, lively town on the coast of Portugal. Ian (Edward Hogg, very convincing in his role), a blind, charismatic instructor who specializes in the art of echolocation, arrives there one sunny day in order to teach the center's youngest inhabitants how to get around the invisible world without any hesitations. He's a true believer in the inexhaustible power of imagination and a firm supporter of the unconventional way of studying one's own body and senses. 

The coordinators who value the good name of the locale more than their pupils' ability to function in an unfamiliar world don't enthusiastically accept his controversial educational methods. Even though after only a couple of days there's a tremendous progress in the level of confidence the students show during classes, Ian's out-of-bounds approach is cut short. He doesn't use a cane while walking, thus making himself appear both more self-confident and more dangerous to the well being of his students and that's the part that the coordinators can't accept.

Eva (Alexandra Maria Lara), a mysterious German woman occupying one of the rooms in the secluded community, grabs his attention almost immediately. It's a lot like love at first sight but more enticing mostly due to the fact that it's based on the actions and the words, without referring to the looks that, as many probably know, can be deceiving. Distrustful at first, the two quickly form a remarkably special bond, seeing that the woman decides to trust the man while they stroll down the lovely, yet unsafe roads so as to get acquainted not only with each other but also with a completely new area.

Because of Ian's can-do attitude Eva, who never dared to step behind the huge and scary concrete walls of the center, is introduced to her life anew and the viewer gets to experience the many locations and the amazingly pleasant vibe of the city along with her. While Eva gets strangers by the day, Ian gets more jealous when he realizes that the woman, now certain of her charm, wants to flirt with the men siting in a nearby café. 

Tables turn, and the man who was once a miraculous worker and fantastic partner to all the fearful occupants of the center has been named a liar, an unsteady person incapable of serving the people. Though in the eyes of the children he's still the main force driving them to become certain of the influence of the other four senses, his days as a teacher are numbered, given that he lost the trust of his supervisors while implementing his unusual teaching techniques.

Heart pleasing and enchanting Imagine places its focus on the aspect of discovering not only oneself but also a vivid universe that's meant to be somewhat invisible, thus many of the frames are consciously squeezed in order to show only the characters' faces, and the general idea is to explore what's unseen through the ears. The sound department did a magnificent job to make all the sounds heard in the picture crisp and clear and their coming together with only the selected frames gives a most satisfying final result. It's as if the viewers, along with the blind heroes, are meant to use their imagination to see and be enamored with the world that's being built systematically right in front of them step by step, piece by piece.
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