This year’s DOK Neuland, DOK Leipzig’s interactive component (housed in what resembled an intergalactic pop-up tent in the beautiful, wide open Markt) allowed me a second chance to experience what will surely go down as the best work of virtual reality seen widely in 2016. Fortuitously, I’d been able to catch Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness — the accolade garnering (Storyscapes Award at the Tribeca Film Festival, the Alternate Realities VR Award at Sheffield Doc/Fest) VR companion piece to Peter Middleton and James Spinney’s much heralded documentary — at the charming Savannah Film Festival’s VR Showcase just the week before. (The doc itself opened at Film Forum in November.) Though it’s now available for free on various platforms, the experience of putting on a headset and virtually falling once again into a “world beyond sight” nearly brought me to tears. And how often does that kind of emotional connection happen with virtual reality? Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness is an astounding work of immersive cinema. Arthouse VR.
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