Disabled persectives.
Celebrating Disability  everywhere in everything. 

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Steve Dwoskin
Steve Dwoskin
A disabled filmmaker
I would choose Johnny Got His Gun because it attempts to crystallize the feeling of disability while challenging the attitude of the non-disabled and the medical establishment towards it - without the use of the stereotypical images and narrative usually applied towards disability.



Fundamentally, disability in culture, especially in film culture, is based on the idea of normality. Disability imagery either perpetuates it, or defines it, for culture and society. Occasionally, on a more radical level, disability or impairment is used to question  the concept  of normality in terms both of its reality and its role in defining society. It is predominantly  those on the margins of society, such as the disabled themselves, who have tried to use disability on film to undermine the hegemony of normality and the non-coercive social processes that construct this notion.

Society's use of disability to define normality is ultimately the most pernicious aspect of the cultural representation of disability and otherness.


It is a mistake to assume that the processes of defining normality for society through film are only identifiable in the classic Hollywood film or the narrative short.

They can be detected in all film forms from animation to the avant-garde to the apparently truthful documentary. Documentaries such as Thursday's Children (1954), or the more recent disability-aware Born Freak (2002), are as implicated in the process of defining disability

as abnormal as any other film but, paradoxically, that is what makes them such fascinating films, together with every other feature, animated film or documentary in this Catalogue.

Mik Scarlet
Mik Scarlet
A disabled TV presenter and musician
My all time favourite is True Romance, a film where the hero played by Christian Slater is obviously schizophrenic - holding conversations with the young (long dead) Elvis Presley - but comes out on top and ends up happy, getting both the girl and the cash. Not your normal role for a schizophrenic.