Health/Care Film Series: 3 Short Films

Thursday, March 8, 7-10pm
Presented by Emma Ben Ayoun
30 participants maximum

The House is Black (Farrokhzad, 1963)
In My Language (Baggs, 2007)
Voice/Over (Barry, 2007)

These three short films explore disease, disability, marginalization, and expression in very different ways. The House is Black, a 1963 film produced in Iran and directed by Forough Farrokhzad, explores the lives of individuals living and working in a leprosy colony in northern Iran; In My Language, made by American activist and blogger Mel Baggs  depicts Baggs’ relation to language; and Voice/Over is part of a trilogy made by South African filmmaker and disability rights activist Shelley Barry.

The screening of these films (cw: trauma, images of physical suffering and pain, medical spaces) will be followed by a discussion, moderated by Emma Ben Ayoun. Some guiding questions we may collectively ask include: how can films about bodies that have been construed as physically or developmentally ‘other’ do justice to the lives and experiences of their subjects, and what can these films teach well or able-bodied folks about the ways we can make the world a safer and more inclusive place? How do disease and disability intersect with other identity categories and genres, and in this context particularly with gender? What is the significance of a filmmaker’s subject position, particularly when it comes to documentary? How do these vastly different films offer important, and interconnected, perspectives on film’s power as well as its shortcomings as a medium for activism and social change?

Emma Ben Ayoun is currently working on her PhD at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on the social, medical, and visual implications of “sickness” (as a colloquial, and often pejorative, term) in cinema; she is interested in media that moves beyond reductive or harmful representations of illness, disability, and pain, and allows subjects who have been constituted as “sick” to reclaim and depict their own experiences. She is deeply inspired by scholars in disability studies, gender studies, and critical race studies, all of whom have asked us to reconsider the politics of the normative body and who have also found ways to integrate advocacy, inclusion, and resistance into their academic work. She would love to hear from you.

Heatlh/Care Film Series Screenings:
— Saturday, March 31: Nothing About Us Without Us, a short film program presented by Georgian Badal.
— Thursday, April 19: Unrest (Brea, 2017), presented by Sheila Films.