5 March 2016 | evi-2
Unsentimental documentary about disabled and abled making a movie
I don't respond well to films that go for emotions without earning them. This movie is moving -- and funny and entertaining and educational -- but it earns every feeling it evokes.
It documents the making of one of Zeno Mountain Farm's annual movies. Zeno is a summer retreat for people with disabilities of all kinds, from the physical to the cognitive and everything in between and every mix. That by itself is remarkable, because the challenges these people face are so varied that building a community requires each of its members to be as open and understanding as those of us without such disabilities should be to each of them. At Zeno, being challenged is the norm.
Zeno extends this beyond the community of disabled. The fully able are also part of this community. The able young women and men are simply other community members. Their ability to see past the challenges and to enjoy people for who they are is inspiring, without in the least being preachy. It is a model of what life could be like if we could genuinely stop seeing the disabled as a separate category of person characterized by their needs above all else..
The documentary shows us the making of a short movie by the Zeno community. The actors are a mix of the disabled and the able, cast without distinction. Because it is shot without condescension, we are led to appreciate the members of that community for who they are, seeing past their limits.
It is not inspiring in the usual "Oh, they are so brave!" sort of way. It's inspiring because it shows us what it would be like to accept the deeply disabled for who they are.
As a film, it's very well done. It's absorbing, funny, moving, and straightforward. I can't see how it could be any better at what it does. That means it's a 10.