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Ich muss dir was sagen (2006)

ICH MUSS DIR WAS SAGEN is a documentary film about the 4-year old twin brothers Oskar and Leo. Oskar has been deaf since birth, Leo has unimpaired hearing. Both are growing up with a shared... See full summary »


Martin Nguyen


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Credited cast:
Leo & Oscar Badegruber Leo & Oscar Badegruber


ICH MUSS DIR WAS SAGEN is a documentary film about the 4-year old twin brothers Oskar and Leo. Oskar has been deaf since birth, Leo has unimpaired hearing. Both are growing up with a shared language that develops in silence: sign language. Over the course of a year the young filmmaker Martin Nguyen has observed the twins from up close and from their perspective, watching them grow and discover a world that they are getting to know through sign language. The film examines what the diagnosis "deaf" means to Oskar's hearing parents, Sandra and Stefan. The cochlear implant that could enable Oskar to hear has been an issue since his birth, but for the time being his parents have decided to take sign language classes and to raise the children in what is for them a foreign language. Leo is being brought up bilingual, with sign language and spoken language. For Oskar, however, sign language is his essential form of expression - his mother tongue. Written by Mischief Films

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sign language | See All (1) »





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Release Date:

October 2006 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

I Want to Tell You Something See more »

Filming Locations:

Vienna, Austria

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Production Co:

Mischief Films See more »
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User Reviews

Opportunities in real life not transferred into film
16 August 2007 | by Chris_DockerSee all my reviews

Why would a three-year-old with perfectly good hearing learn sign language? Because his twin brother is deaf, that's why.

It's the reason why his parents also learn. I Want to Tell You Something is a documentary following their consequent, unusual, 'bi-lingual' family life together.

The aim is probably to show the unique contribution that is possible by communicating without sound. We see the family in day-to-day situations, ups and down. The twins' mother talks about the grieving they went through on learning that one of their sons was deaf. Hopes are raised and then dashed: the possibility of an implant is explored and then found to be unworkable.

The basic idea of I Want to Tell You Something holds much potential. Contrasts between a visual and an auditory language, especially when the two are used simultaneously or when sentences are constructed in a mix of the two, could be a filmmaker's delight. But Nguyen's handling of the subject matter is pedestrian, however competent. Once we have seen the twins mixing German and sign language in the same sentence, it only remains to repeat the point. There is little cinematic imagination in the delivery, the two sons (especially the deaf one) seem to have had a charisma bypass, and I find myself concentrating more on the plodding, Germanic, (but exceedingly competent) parenting skills of the mother.

Camera-work is similarly unimaginative, such as that produced by a skilled person making a family video. Odd gems fall into the filmmakers lap – such as when the video function on phones becomes strikingly useful (between a father and son call) – but are underdeveloped. Explaining how fish get caught in the sea before going into the supermarket deep-freeze is boring in any language (unless you are a three year old).

I Want to Tell You Something may find a place as an educational video. In its own field, it is an outstanding work. It could be excellent for any parent facing the possibility of raising a deaf child. Or educationalists wanting to 'normalise' the teaching of deaf children and helping their parents to relate fully. But as a stand-alone documentary feature it is perhaps more suited to late night cable channels.

(The title is a misnomer. It is taken not from anything Oskar, the deaf child, signs. It is a random comment by his brother. Oskar signs clearly and emphatically – and sadly - that he has no desire to talk.)

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