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The Cinema of Isolation


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Norden (communication, Univ. of Massachusetts) analyzes the film industry's depiction of physically disabled characters from the era of silent films to the present. He criticizes several conceptual ap-proaches, including the tendency to present narratives from an able-bodied person's perspective, as in The Elephant Man (1980), which is drawn from the attending doctor's memoirs. Especially illuminating are discussions of how films portraying a disability are perceived by people with that disability. For instance, deaf people found the signing in Children of a Lesser God (1986) difficult to follow because of bad lighting and camera angles. Sensitive to the latest consensus about correct language regarding disabilities, and infused with an advocacy that some may find excessive, this heartfelt treatise provides an invaluable assessment and supersedes the pioneering Disability Drama in Television and Film (McFarland, 1988). Highly recommended for academic libraries and all larger film and disability collections.-Richard W. Grefrath, Univ. of Nevada Lib., Reno

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