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Portraying Blind People

April 10, 1993

No one questions that Al Pacino is a great actor who deserves an Academy Award. But plenty of disabled people are complaining about the academy choosing "Scent of a Woman" to reward Pacino for his lifetime acting achievements. The depiction of this blind character could have been made in the Dark Ages.

Blind people have always had to deal with the unrealistic stereotype that they have a sixth sense or some supernatural powers. This film preys on this false belief--Pacino performs a flawless tango, has the ability to know the color of a woman's hair by being in her presence, can sense an attractive woman across a restaurant and, most absurd, can successfully drive 70 m.p.h. in a sports car.

The blind people I know are not sociopaths who would attempt to drive a car endangering other's lives, not womanizers nor paranormal psychics who can "see" when they are blind. They are normal people capable of cooking, taking trips without an attendant, holding a job and are not suicidal or violent because of their blindness.

MARTA RUSSELL

Encino

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