How To Watch a Film Blindfolded

How do you watch a film blindfolded? It is not as difficult as it seems.

A few days ago, I found myself recommending a film to a friend. The film was Michael Haneke’s The Seventh Continent. The friend proceeded to look it up on IMDb and inadvertantly discovered what happened in the film, which, for that particular movie, completely ruined the experience of watching it with absolutely no prior knowledge whatsoever. This happens so much; even something as simple as a plot summary can take a lot out of the film, as can reading reviews of films before watching them. So I am going to challenge you to do something you may not be used to: rent a movie, put it in the DVD player and watch it with absolutely NO prior knowledge of anything about the film. Don’t read a review, don’t even look at the back cover. Try not to know a single thing, and just watch it. I’ve found the experience to be much, much different to watching a film with knowledge about it beforehand. And the experience is always – always – better.

So go ahead and do it yourself. Watch a film completely blindfolded, and report back here to share the experience with me and fellow readers. Thanks!

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Posted on November 2, 2011, in Movies and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. I wish I’d watched Catfish blindfolded.

  2. Technically most of the movies i stream through netflix i have no prior knowledge of. Although, i can’t say i have had a movie ruined before because of prior knowledge

  3. It’s hard. Sometimes, I will completely forget about reading the description and then 20 minutes into the movie, I will be wondering what it is about and have a strong urge to read the plot description on the little Netflix envelope. Beats me.

  4. Completely agree with this and I always try to do this with every movie I watch. Of course it’s not always possible, but I take pride in knowing as little as I can.

  5. I always try and watch a film without knowing about the plot (key narrative devices or story twists, etc) but in this day and age of blanket film coverage, it’s pretty darn hard to not know at least one or two things about the film.

    I don’t get a lot of time to watch a heap of indie or arthouse fare, so when I get a chance to, these kinds of films tend to be more enjoyable to watch just because a) I don’t know much about them and b) they’re not always heavily promoted here in Australia – I tend to be drawn towards the blockbusting Hollywood releases more often than not, and so I rarely get to watch something without any knowledge whatsoever.

    The last time I watched a film without knowing a single thing about it was Equilibrium, with Christian Bale. Awesome film, and blew me away at the time!

    • It can be hard to avoid discovering information about films, and you can’t do it with every movie, but I always believe it’s worth a try.

  6. I try to watch films as blind as possible, but usually it doesn’t work. Particularly the DVD releases I watch. This is because of that damn trailer loop disc that we have at work, and I am the only one who takes notice of it. It gets particularly bad when I’m working there in the holidays and I see the same trailer at least ten times a day. Then I go to watch the movie and I get a completely different story. Also, as I frequent sites like IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, I find it hard to shy away from reviews and stuff.

    But hey, I’m watching the Colours trilogy practically blind. All I know is that they’re directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski and you like them! Certified Copy was another film I watched blind, and I absolutely adored that one!

  7. I don’t usually do that…unless you count friend recommendation. Sometimes a friend would just say “Go watch x, it’s amazing”, so I go and watch it! 🙂 I’ve had some great experiences, but also some bad ones!

  8. Probably one of the hardest things to do these days with the amount of information out there. But as I recently discussed in one of my mumbles I am a spoiler hunter. I can’t help it.

    Actually I love Film Festivals. At LFF press screenings when there were 3/4 a day of films I had never heard of it was ace to go in blind. A completely different experience

  9. I totally agree. Recently, meaning as this year has progressed, I have tried to avoid trailers and read reviews before seeing a film. But, as I follow so many blogs from the States, I seem to always know something about the film when I enter the cinema – the best experiences have come at Film Festivals, and in the rare instance (Incendies), where I know nothing about the film. It’s always a better experience.

  10. This, as far as I’m concerned, is the ONLY way to watch a film. I had not a clue what The Seventh Continent was about. Knowing what the third act entailed before I watched it would’ve killed what turned out to be an incredible movie-watching experience.

    Hope people take your advice!

  11. I also try to avoid knowing information about a movie. Because I’m an everyday user of IMDb, this is particularly hard, but I have watched a movie blindfolded. One of the times that I can remember watching the movie blindfolded was Inception. The only thing I knew about it was that it was directed by Christopher Nolan. I went as far as when the trailers came on, I shut my eyes, covering my ears, and softly sang la-la-la. This time with TDK2 I’m doing the same thing (although I have already seen a glimpse of the poster in the cinema and know some of the new actors, but not their characters).

    I HATE spoilers. All my friends know this and sometimes ask me to leave if they’ve seen a good movie, because they need to talk about it. Knowing plot points seriously hurts my movie experience. Although there have been some funny experiences with knowing spoilers beforehand.

    What about actually watching a movie blindfolded? Have you tryed this? What movie should one watch in this way?

    • Spoilers can and often do hurt. I hate them also.

      Good movies to watch blindfolded…? Hmm… that’s tricky. I recommend you do it with as many movies as you can but films such as those directed by Michael Haneke or Gus van Sant work quite well. If you haven’t seen Haneke’s THE SEVENTH CONTINENT (which I mentioned in this post), that is a GREAT film to watch blindfolded.

  12. Great post. I appreciate seeing films like this and even more when I have the time to seek out films in the cinema that I hardly know anything about.

    I’ll actually try doing this more and even make some kind of feature on it on my blog!

  13. Hey, Tyler–Didn’t know where to share this, but this seemed as good a place as any. Good news for Terrence Malick fans: He’s picking up the pace!

    http://www.thewrap.com/movies/column-post/not-one-two-terrence-malick-films-starring-blanchett-and-bale-32382

  14. I do this most of the time now, I hate blurbs as they always give too much away. If it looks like you’ll like it you most likely will.

    I used to recommend a film called Snow Cake when it came out a few years ago on the condition that you did not read the synopsis of the back of the cover which ruins the entire first act. It is a good one to watch blind.

    But then again what movie isn’t better watched blind?

  15. I thought you meant literally watched a movie blindfolded, ahah. I think I’ve done it a couple of times actually. A friend of mine invited us for dinner and a movie and I had no idea or even heard of the movie before. It’s called Angel-A, a French movie, and I actually enjoyed it. Might try to do it again, great idea, man.

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