The Cleveland International Film Festival promotes artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition to enrich the life of the community.
April 14, 2018 | posted by Lara Klaber in Filmmakers
Life can sometimes change in an instant, as the protagonists of the suspense-filled thriller “Blind Alley” are all too aware.
One night, while sitting in a car, brothers Alex and Michel are shot by an unknown assailant, leaving the former paralyzed from the waist down. As the siblings wrestle with this new reality (and Michel contemplates trying to find a way to pay for a healing surgery for Alex) they also come under a cloud of criminal suspicion.
There’s no good reason for this distrust—it’s rooted in baseless prejudice—and the burden of stereotypical expectations, self-fulfilling prophecies, and betrayal haunts the rest of the movie.
“It doesn’t matter if we’re born here,” Alex says at one point. “We don’t look like them.”
For director/screenwriter Manuel Concha—who was born and raised in Sweden to parents hailing from Chile—the themes of the movie resonated deeply with him. “My appearance doesn’t look like a typical Swede, so all my life I’ve been struggling with my identity, explaining to other people that I’m a Swede,” he says. “This feeling of being an outsider and not belonging somewhere is something I can [relate to] with the characters in the movie.”
“Blind Alley” is also based on true events, which makes the movie even more meaningful to Concha. “It’s a personal film, because some parts of the story happened to me in real life,” he says. “I wanted to tell about this dark period in my hometown that happened where white supremacy is gaining popularity. Sadly, it’s happening in other places around the world also.”
As far as film takeaways go, he says “an awareness of your own prejudice” is his top priority. “We all have them,” he says. “But I think we as human beings have to stop think[ing] so negative about other people, and instead think that everyone on this planet has their own battles in life.”
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