When I started writing 'Chewing the Fat' I made a few decisions about what I would and would not write about. There are, of course, some boundaries about my private life that I would never cross. But I also didn't want to use the blog as a means of flogging my books or having the blog become a promotional tool of Diverse City Press - I'm guessing that just saying that here is breaking that rule, but that is not my intent. So I decided that I wouldn't try to push my taste on anyone and promote anything other than a discussion about disability issues and disability rights.
Then yesterday I was popping around the Ouch website (this isn't product placement blog style, it's part of the story, really) and I found an old article about the frustrations about getting some good disability themed films out into the public eye. Apparently distributers aren't real interested in many smaller films that have disability as a theme and these films disappear quite quickly.
They mentioned two films, "Cloud Cuckoo Land" and "Inside I'm Dancing". I love films so I looked them up, figuring maybe to buy them on Amazon. They didn't have the dvd of either so I googled them and was surprised to find that "Inside I'm Dancing" was renamed "Rory O'Shea was here" for it's North American distribution on DVD. Cuckoo Land doesn't seem to have made it onto dvd that I could find.
But Rory O'Shea, I own that dvd and right now it's sitting on the piano right by the dvd player. It is simply, to my mind, the best disability film I have ever seen. I didn't realize, until reading Ouch, that the film has struggled to find an audience. So, I'm going to break all my own rules and flat out promote the film.
Rory is a must see. It's the story of a friendship between two young men with disabilities but it's also a tribute to community living and to freedom. It makes every point it needs to about the virtue of independance and the need to break free from institutional care. The film never, ever, preaches - the story tells itself and it's only afterwards, upon reflection, that the realization that you've just seen a movie length PSA about dignity, risk and friendship. The story is alternately funny and painful and then ultimately liberating. The acting is astounding and though I typically hate portrayals of disability by non-disabled actors, I'm giving that complaint a pass here.
So please forgive me for using my blog in this manner but I think I'm going to do this occasionally because I think that the disability community is enriched by art and by storytelling. I think that we become more whole in the presence of art. So, if you've a mind to ... give Rory a shot. Reward those who dare to tell the truth in film, in books or in the blogosphere.
Rory O'Shea Was Here - Chewing The Fat's first award good storytelling and positive portrayal of disability.