Detasamentul Orb (Romania, 28 min)

Written by: Vlad Fenesan


The blind detachment

Matthew is a 23 years old young man who likes to spend his time doing nothing else than sleeping. He has no purpose in life, being a complete ignorant to everything around him. He lives with his mother, who tries her best to persuade him to get a job and make something of his life. After one fight, he finally decides to take the interview at the military unit his mother has arranged for him.

He is interviewed by a funny looking officer and finds out that his job will be taking care of seven old blind men, who like to call themselves “The blind detachment”. On his way out he sees them in a saloon, sitting quietly and listening to music and becomes fascinated by this image.

The second day he wakes up early and goes to his new job. The blind men treat him very rude. They each have a very strong personality and a very acid language. After being tricked into tumbling into a night pot, Matthew breaks down and leaves the room.

When he walks back in, he finds them in the same position he first saw them. Enters the room and opens the window, a simple action that seems extraordinary for the blind men. They urge him to tell them what can he see outside. Hesitating at first, Matthew starts describing the view, exaggerating and dramatizing to keep their enthusiasm up. When a woman comes into sight, he describes her in detail, to the blind men’s delight. He invents a story in which she likes him and they encourage him to go to her. He plays this game and comes back telling them he fixed a date with all of them. This is the moment when he is accepted in their little group.

Their relationship continues to develop as they sustain various activities together: they eat together, he reads them books, he cuts their hair, he arranges various improvised competitions for them, describes them pictures from dirty magazines and listen old music and sing together.

After finding out that the men have one day per year when they are aloud out, Matthew prepares a series of surprises for them. He takes them to The Arch of Triumph, where they have a chance to parade among ordinary people, who are truly impressed by the bizarre detachment. Next stop is at what was once a battlefield, where some of them fought. This is the chance for them to speak about loosing their sight, not in a melodramatic way, but in a relaxed and detached one. One of them recalls short episodes of the war, from when he was injured to the stages of losing his eyesight and family. After this, Matthew takes them to the seaside, where they become very emotional and try to “take in” all they can perceive of that beautiful moment.

On the way back, they make their final stop: outside of a house that belongs to the so-called woman on the street. The blind men align themselves on the benches in the courtyard and wait for their turn to go in and receive the woman’s services. They come out with large smiles on their faces and walk dreamy to the car, where they remain silent. It seems that they haven’t been this happy in a very long time and this gives Matthew great satisfaction.

Matthew and the seven blind men are back in the car. A complete silence surrounds them as each other is deeply immersed in his thoughts, dreaming at the extraordinary experience they had.