Mike, Teresa, Nick, Joey, and Ray - blind youths in Buffalo, New York. Mike narrates most of it, introducing us to his friends, telling us how they became blind. We see them riding bikes, goofing, relaxing at home. They explore deserted warehouses. Mike explains how he knows when he's reached the edge of his driveway in front of his house. He finds a beer in the refrigerator. Life is matter of fact.Written by
Engaging Short Film Showing a View of the Handicapped that We Never See
I've seen this short on the Sundance Channel in the US a few times. At first look, it wasn't very entertaining or memorable. The second time I saw it I realized that I had missed the point and gained a lot of respect for this film.
The US media only likes to tackle the subject of handicapped people when they are being shown as victims who need to be protected or as heroic characters who overcome and achieve while displaying admirable qualities. In this film the director gives us a new take... we see a slice of life of several blind and sight impaired teenage boys who are neither victims or heroes, they are simply aimless youth like so many others in America. There are indeed some interesting and educational bits concerned with blindness, like Mike describing how he finds his driveway by recognizing the cracks and seams in the sidewalk, and Mike teaching his pal Joey to listen for echoes when tapping the walking cane.
However, most of the film is showing us that these blind guys lead the same shiftless lives as so many other "normal" teenagers do. They hang out, curse, talk smack, ride bikes, break things in abandoned buildings, work boring menial jobs, talk about rappers, fist fights and the opposite sex, and dream of travel to exotic locations without ever doing anything to work toward that goal. And like most teenage cliques, they hang out together because they don't fit in well with others. And we are shown that their emotions are no different than ours. When Mike is dumped by his seeing girlfriend over the phone, he goes through the same emotional range that the typical guy would... anger, sadness, bitterness, sour grapes ("She was ugly anyway.") and moving on ("Hey, bitches!").
The point: the fact that someone has a handicap doesn't automatically turn them into a wonderful person with admirable qualities striving to overcome their limitations, which is what the media typically wants us to believe.
Engaging and admirable short film once you understand it.
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