Do we feel represented in some way when we watch a movie or a TV series? If we stop to think, I think that for many of us the answer is yes. First of all, because the majority of the protagonists see, walk, feel and perceive the outside world as many of us do. Moreover, the stories they tell us are stories with which it is not difficult to try to identify with. If we like a movie, it means that it has spoken about us, or about someone close to us, or simply that it has spoken to us.
Now let's try to think about how many times we have seen disabled people as protagonists. There aren't that many. Films such as The Untouchables (2011, by Toledano and Nakache) and some Netflix TV series such as Atypical have hit the big time in mass culture. If we look back to a not too distant past, almost as if in response to a distorted tacit convention, characters with disabilities are often funny or inspire mostly tenderness and compassion. Therefore, if we want to get a different and more objective perspective through cinema, I recommend following the Disability Film Festival.
I was told about this event by Alessia Gramai, one of our authors and one of the festival curators. DFF was created a year ago from an idea of film critic Carmen Riccato and journalist Marco Berton, both members of the Volonwrite Association, which deals with social communication on the issue of disability and health. The initiative includes a series of literary and musical encounters, interviews, and a wide range of movies, to tell the story of disability and diversity from an internal and inclusive perspective. The movies presented are created by disabled directors or are movies in which play disabled actors. And this is not an obvious aspect (the paradox is that disabled figures are rarely played by actors who live in that situation). The hope is to open a window on a piece of our reality which, however distant it may be from the personal experience of each of us, is there, exists and faces life and its problems without the stereotypes that still frequently filter the idea of disability. "A disabled person can do anything if society puts them in a position to do so," says Alessia.
One of the starting points of the festival is to think of disability not as a lack, but simply as a different way of experiencing reality.
The festival was supposed to take place in December, but the Covid situation did not allow it and the three-day event was postponed until spring in the great confidence that it would be able to be experienced as it deserves to be. In the meantime, however, the festival's volcano of ideas gave rise to DFF OFF, a series of online meetings and in-depth discussions with a group of exceptional guests, including director Beniamino Barrese.
The nice chat I had with Alessia in a late December afternoon through the now indispensable WhatsApp screen, really opened my mind to issues that I myself knew, and above all perceived, in a partial way and found me very enthusiastic about this event, a festival that celebrates the life and claims a great right, proper to every human being: that of being represented in art and feeling fully part of one's own culture.
You can watch the meetings of DFF OFF at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQuNwBZokt_bvZy0gkp903kiNHCJg5Fjz
Lavora come bibliotecaria presso la Biblioteca Civica del proprio paese
e collabora con l'Amministrazione per iniziative culturali e sociali,
legate soprattutto al museo etnografico
che gestisce insieme ad altri colleghi.