Author decries Blindness protests as misguided

Nobel literature laureate Jose Saramago has dismissed protests about a film adaptation of his book Blindness.

Nobel literature laureate Jose Saramago has dismissed protests about a film adaptation of his book Blindness.

The Portuguese author called the picketing of theatres by a U.S. association of blind people a "display of meanness based on nothing at all." Saramago said the organization was misguided.

The Baltimore-based National Federation of the Blind said it would protest at the movie's opening weekend. 

Marc Maurer, the federation's president, said Thursday that the movie "portrays blind people as monsters, and I believe it to be a lie."

On Friday night, demonstrators turned up at about 75 theatres in 38 states.

Book is an allegory about rationality

Saramago has described his 1995 novel as disturbing allegory that depicts "a blindness of rationality."

In the book, a mysterious epidemic causes people to see nothing but fuzzy white light, triggering the breakdown of social order.

"Stupidity doesn't choose between the blind and the non-blind," Saramago told Portuguese radio station TSF on Friday.

Miramax released a statement last month that said director Fernando Meirelles, an Academy Award nominee for City of God, had "worked diligently to preserve the intent and resonance of the acclaimed book," which it described as "a courageous parable about the triumph of the human spirit when civilization breaks down."

Directed from a script by Canadian Don McKellar, Blindness has already been screened in Cannes and at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Its international cast includes Canadians Sandra Oh, Susan Coyne, Martha Burns and McKellar as well as Mexico's Gael Garcia Bernal, Brazilian actress Alice Braga and American actors Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo.