|Index||2 reviews in total|
Okay... maybe 10 stars should be reserved for films like Citizen Kane and The Godfather, and documentaries about global climate change, and major wars, and all the damage, struggles and triumphs that generally surround earth-shattering events and/or reshape the course of history, but we're all survivors in one way or another, right? Our pain, our tragedy, our struggles are our own. And as Jenni Gold's documentary exquisitely illustrates perhaps we can collectively and unfortunately marginalize this fact, the resulting and regretful repercussion being indifference. I was fortunate to have met Ms. Gold at one of the preview showings here in New York City; she immediately struck me as the genuine article of someone who obviously knows the trials and tribulations of those in the disabled community, more specifically, those within the disabled community of the entertainment industry, but as the film points out that "community" in some sense hasn't yet felt the power of its own weight. The disabled community is one of largest minority groups in the United States that still hasn't completely defined itself, perhaps unlike other minority groups we just lack a cuisine that accurately represent us. Didn't Chef Boyardee use crutches? Quick start spreading rumors! Quick - think - think! Sarah Lee was blind, and uh, Colonel Sanders had glasses, walked with a cane, deaf, he was deaf, I'm sure of it! Co-opting fast food follies aside, CinemaAbility jumps between a plethora of movie and television footage with a litany of actors discussing their portrayals of disabled characters, or actors with a disability, talking about their personal journeys within an industry, that at its core means well, but can be stifled by the realities of circumstance, whether economic, plain ignorance, or good ol' fashioned cultural blindness. To paraphrase a seemingly repeated line throughout the film: "I didn't think of casting a disabled actor in the role, because I didn't think of casting a disabled actor in the role." The entertainment industry is a difficult one to find success in, or even just steady work, no doubt about it; it's a highly competitive market that can be just as ruthless and savage as any bull or bear on Wall Street. And with a stigma cast over your head, and unsympathetic and superficial attitudes floating about it begs the question: Why the heck would anyone in their right mind, disabled or not, want to be around that Hollywood grinder? Trials and tribulations. Simple answer: The work, and you got to love the work, and when you've done your job and you've done it well it's going to be something that lasts and continues to enrich. The poignant message to me, in Gold's documentary, is by including a section of society (a meaningful resource) that has been marginalized we not only enrich the palette of storytelling in film and television, but we also enrich ourselves as a society by representing who we truly are. I keep thinking of the phrase from the American Constitution: "....to form a more perfect Union..." Before the landmark television series Breaking Bad could hit the airwaves, show creator Vince Gilligan (who appears in Gold's doc) had to cast for the role of Walt Jr (a teen boy with cerebral palsy). Vince tried casting non-disabled actors for the part of Walt Jr., but it was RJ Mitte (who in real life has cerebral palsy) that brought an authenticity to the role that was undeniable to Vince. And anyone who has watched the show, or been a fan, knows this to be truer in action than words could ever express. Gold's documentary succeeds in sharing its insight and wisdom on a topic that continues to be pushed into the mute, deaf darkness of our indifference. Time to open the curtains.
There are many documentaries about the history of Hollywood, but none
cover an important topic like this one this. Cinemability shows the
real history of handicapped actors in Hollywood and how many things
need to be changed in the way they are treated.
This is an educational documentary that will leave you inspired and interested. It also has some humor from actors who are interviewed and many older classic films. The film starts in the late 19th century showing the first handicapped people in films. It goes all the way up to recent films. Many actors talk about their opinions on the matter and what it is like being handicapped. The documentary shows you some films that heavily mock the handicapped as well as films that represent handicapped people very well.
I love this film because it doesn't just look at Hollywood as discriminating against handicapped people. Instead, it looks at movies and movements that have really pushed for equality and it also features handicapped actors who tell the viewer how Hollywood can make improvements. Its 98 minute length fits very well and keeps the viewer's attention the whole time. The most inspirational point in this film is that it is directed by Jenni Gold, who is handicapped herself. She excels at showing that, no matter what people look like on the outside, they are first and foremost people on the inside with their own dreams and aspirations.
My favorite scene is when they talk about Ray Charles, a powerful musician who has been blind all his life. Ray, despite his disability, led a very productive life and became a very powerful and successful man. He proved that he is in charge of his life which is unique and interesting. Jamie Foxx also talks about what it was like to play Ray Charles and to be blind for twelve hours a day. It was inspirational and interesting to listen to him speak.
Cinemability does have some mature topics, so I recommend it for ages 10 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars for fantastic directing, entertaining elements, interesting and educational material and a unique concept. I have to mention that it took close to 10 years to complete this film and was mainly possible due to a partnership between the Geena Davis Institute on Gender Media and Gold Pictures, a company founded by Jenni Gold.
Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
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