Blind People Can’t ‘Watch’ Movies, Right? At This Cinema in Indonesia, They Can
“I feel like I have my vision back. I could enjoy again what I used to enjoy before I became blind,” said Irma Himayanti.
Irma suffered an accident as a child, she was diagnosed with glaucoma and eventually lost her vision. She now teaches English at the School for the Visually Impaired.
Today, Irma regained all the joy in watching movies when she came across Bioskop Bisik.
Meaning “whispering cinema” in Bahasa Indonesia, Bioskop Bisik allows everyone to enjoy movies, even if they have vision problems — by pairing them with volunteers who describe whatever is happening in the movie to them.
Bioskop Bisik was founded by Ramya Prajna, who wanted to create a space for people to interact with those who may be different from them, through a simple experience like watching a movie together.
“We want to make people know that there are blind people around us. So the main objective is to give the experience how our eyes are not just for us, but for others,” said Ramya to Our Better World, a storytelling initiative of the Singapore International Foundation.
Being able to watch movies is a “change” for Cheta, a participant who has formed a friendship with her whisperer, Kenny. “She...describes the scenes very clearly for me, sometimes we go out of context and start giggling (during the movie),” she said.
“We’re just having fun,” said Kenny. “I am glad I found a new friend to enjoy the movie with.”
It was these conversations that Ramya hoped to spark by organising the screenings. The whispering cinema aimed to break barriers on both sides — for volunteers to understand the needs of the blind better, while the blind can go about their lives with more confidence, knowing there are people out there who care, genuinely.
“What’s most important is that they have hope, and they have support and people that care for them. That for me is amazing, and I want to be a part of it,” said Osse Kiki, one of the volunteer.
A story by Our Better World – telling stories of good to inspire action