Author rejects criticism of film 'Blindness'

LISBON, Portugal (AP) -October 2, 2008

Portuguese author Jose Saramago dismissed a threat by a U.S. association of blind people to picket theaters showing the movie, describing it as "a display of meanness based on nothing at all."

Saramago has described his 1995 novel as disturbing allegory that depicts "a blindness of rationality." It imagines a mysterious epidemic that causes people to see nothing but fuzzy white light, resulting in a collapse of the social order in an unnamed city.

"Stupidity doesn't choose between the blind and the non-blind," Saramago told Portuguese radio station TSF.

The Baltimore-based National Federation of the Blind has said it plans to protest the movie in at least 21 U.S. states when it is released Friday.

Marc Maurer, the federation's president, said Thursday that the movie "portrays blind people as monsters, and I believe it to be a lie."

The film is directed by Fernando Meirelles and stars Julianne Moore.

Saramago was the first Portuguese-language winner of the Nobel Literature prize, which he won in 1998.

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