CODA Disabled and disadvantaged people, hearing-impaired subject matter film

From the middle to the end of each year to January/February, it is the time for some potential dark horse films to make a splash in the autumn/winter film festivals, such as the Venice Film Festival, which is now half of the “Watertown”, the Toronto Film Festival, which is popular with the general audience, and the Sundance Film Festival, which is a blessed place for independent and niche films. The festival is a must for film and TV companies (to promote their films and expand their visibility for the upcoming awards season), but this year’s small budget independent “breakout” is undoubtedly the hearing-impaired focused “Hearing Girl” (Belfast, please stand aside). Unlike some of the previous politically correct, black, same-sex, feminist social issues that have been very hot in recent years, “Hearing Girl” focuses on a disadvantaged group of people who are often overlooked – deaf people with disabilities, who are “forgotten” in real life The extent to which they are “forgotten” in real life is no less than hearing-impaired films are to all genres, and I have come across several similar ones: the 1986 American film The Children of God Lost, the 2016 Japanese animated film The Shape of Sound, the 2018 Academy Award-winning film The Shape of Water, the 2019 American film The Sound of Metal, and the one I heard from my bean friends the 2014 French-language film The Berlières. (It is worth mentioning that the deaf mother of this film, Mary Matlin, is the lead actress of “Children of God” and the only deaf Oscar winner to date, which is very impressive)

Within the framework of the premise of “hearing loss”, I think “The Children of God” focuses on love between a man and a woman, “The Shape of Sound” on redemption in adolescence, “The Shape of Water” on love at a special time, “The Sound of Metal” on ideals and inspiration, and “The Beryles” on the coexistence of family members, each with its own focus, while “Hearing Girls” includes all of the above elements – family, love, friendship, teacher-student love, dreams and realistic choices, all of which have been explored and presented, so the audiovisual content is very full, full of shape, and worthy of detailed examination in many places. But what provoked me most was the “fear” of the family characters themselves.

The general thinking on the subject of hearing impairment is nothing more than external bullying due to lack of understanding, such as the cold words, pranks, bullying and even violence from the ignorant children led by the male protagonist when Nishinomiya Niko was a child, or the unequal social status experienced by God’s children and the female protagonists of the two films The Shape of Water, and then the younger patients in the Sound of Metal on the older patients’ lifestyle and style of dealing with them. These are all external factors or heavy pressures imposed on the hearing impaired by outsiders, and we feel anger and pity for them. But how can the “fluctuations” of their inner pain be felt by the viewer? This film takes a wonderful approach: the silent concert.

The hearing-impaired daughter/sister of one’s own blood relatives sings on stage, but the parents and brother sitting on the stage are unable to hear a single sound. This is how I feel when I see this)! A completely different from the external force imposed by the “pain” and “fear” thus appear, you can’t help but think that if at some point they suddenly like this can not hear anything, and can not speak, can only look at others up and down the quivering lips, can not receive any Information, other people’s hilarious all unrelated to their own, their own brain will short-circuit, will violently collapse, will hate to end their lives without sound? Such a simple and ingenious setting of cutting off the sound gives me a newer perspective and understanding of the pain, struggle and helplessness of the hearing impaired themselves.

I look forward to more films that focus on such disadvantaged people. Just as the world is inseparable from all kinds of voices, we also need all kinds of images that focus on different people and things to wake us up and awaken us.

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