Mein Blind date mit dem Leben: Life Is Simple, Just Feel It

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The plot describes a real life story about a guy who lost his sight because of a disease at 15 and was diagnosed with cancer at 23. Saliya Kahawatte is an ambitious youngster who dreamed about a career in a hotel. However, in one moment his life turns on its head, when he goes blind. All around him advise him to give up his dreams, as a man with disabilities always does. But his dream became powerful, inflamed with his desire achieve his goal. A story based on the autobiography of the successful entrepreneur Saliya Kahawatte, “Mein blind date mit dem Leben” (“My Blind Date with Life”).

Kostja Ullmann in the movie Mein Blind Date mit dem Leben
Kostja Ullmann in the movie Mein Blind Date mit dem Leben

 

`Mein blind date mit dem Leben` – German comedy, produced in 2017, even though it embodies the struggles of a young guy, you don’t feel sad after watching. It inspires you to try one more step on the way to dream.

 

 

Directed by Marc Rothemund, the well-known creator of “Sophie Scholl”(“Die letzten Tage”), a participant in The White Rose, the German anti-Nazi resistance movement during the Second World War. Marc was awarded an Oscar for that movie and has been nominated for several other prizes. In the biopic comedy “Mein blind date mit dem Leben”, Kostja Ullmann plays the lead role of Saliya while Jacob Matschenz plays his friend Max, who helps Saliya adapt to society.  Anna Maria Mühe plays Saliya`s on-screen girlfriend, Laura.

“Mein blind date mit dem Leben” is the eponymous title of the autobiography of the successful life-coach, Saliya Kahawatte, who faced blindness at 15 and nonetheless flourished by maintaining his dream and setting goals.

 

The Story of a Brave Boy

Saliya was born into a multicultural family, with a father from Sri-Lanka. Since boyhood, when he visited a 5-star hotel, he has dreamt of becoming a member of the staff. As a teenager, he is working at a luxury restaurant when a slight eye disorder begins to appear – a white spot which obstructs the clarity of his vision. He doesn’t take it seriously until both eyes seem covered by a shroud. A doctor diagnoses a congenital disease of both eyes, with nervous atrophy. No options are available, and Saliya is reduced to only 5% of normal vision. Being blind means that he will never be able to realize his dream.

 

Kostja Ullmann and Anna Maria Muehe Mein Blind Date mit dem Leben
Kostja Ullmann and Anna Maria Muehe Mein Blind Date mit dem Leben

 

Perhaps it would be easy to give up, with a disability like Saliya’s. He is advised to change schools, and find a job in a call-centre or a massage facility. But his strength and determination give him enormous power to go on looking for opportunities to realize all that he has wanted to do. And there is no alternative to lying about his blindness. At 15, Saliya manages to pretend that his vision is perfect, helped by his hearing, intuition, and judgment. He studies by shadowing his teacher and measures distances by the number of steps.

He enrolls in the training program at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof and finishes a full course in hotel service, from cleaning to the front desk. Moreover, we learn that Saliya can hold an administrative position, concealing the fact of his blindness.

 

World in the Fog

“World in the fog” – this is not the only difficulty that Saliya has faced, by far. His father left the family, without money or support. Saliya must work overtime, disguising his exhaustion with drugs. An episode in the movie depicts Saliya’s struggle with depression, which sets in after his diagnosis. Success in a career looks like a fantasy, but the inner pressure which he feels grows slowly until it turns into mental disease.

In general, the plot reveals many things that seem ordinary, identified by appearance, color, or other externalities as we estimate people and things by their wrapper. Blindness helps Saliya to understand this world in a profound way: by listening to sounds, voices, tasting products or drinks, remembering shapes and materials. Style and music, on-screen images – all harmonize aesthetically.

 

Different World

Another impressive thing is that the director tries to transform the world of Saliya for the viewers. How? Sounds are delicate and sophisticated, whether meat being sliced or the sound of a random girl, chewing gum. Technically, one of the objectives in the plot is to introduce people to a world in which everything is different for them, but normal for the protagonist. However, look, the thing is hard twice over, as Saliya could see clearly before, and only an unexpected moment divides his life into separate parts. Can you imagine the power of affection, it almost kills the current conscience. Figure out, for a man who could do everything he wanted, was planning his life and suddenly was deprived of his goals and dreams. Difficult to get used to a new life, but better than giving it all up.

 

Kostja Ullmann and Jacob Matschenz Mein Blind Date mit dem Leben
Kostja Ullmann and Jacob Matschenz Mein Blind Date mit dem Leben

 

Saliya is kind and genuine, whether sighted or not. It is obviously so, because he still helps  people, even if it is an enormous effort for him. Max, the cool guy, the rich father’s son, is late to his first interview and lies about the reason. Saliya plays along in order to help him. They become friends, and Max will support Saliya later, when he is stuck at a crossroads. In another cameo appearance, Hamid, a doctor from Afghanistan, tries to get clearance for a job in medicine. He has escaped from Afghanistan and is working in the kitchen at the Bayerischer Hof. Saliya checks out letters from the embassy and creates  new ones. Saliya’s story takes on a philosophical undertone: for example, his revealing the mentors who pushed his training for the job of travel agent. Nothing is impossible when you really have a goal.

 

Lamb Excuses

The movie “Mein blind date mit dem Leben” confirms, once again, that many problems grow out of laziness. Most of us create lame excuses about why we shouldn’t, when we don’t have to. The plot teaches viewers to find strength, and never betray principles, to have faith in dreams and remain human, no matter what happens. One of the impressive moments in the film takes place when Max and Saliya are mountain cycling – and Saliya is already blind. Nothing should stop you on the path to the greatest achievements.

Recently, when I was looking for a nice movie to see on YouTube, a fellow tutor in advertisement gave food for thought, mentioning that sometimes laziness points to the wrong way. The path you choose isn’t one of your gut feelings. Saliya has a motto, a quote from Buddha: “There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path”. Probably this means that we should check whether the feelings are real or not, and will only know doing the things we love.

 

Photos: MovieStillsDB

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