Tribute: Nothing for Us Without Us
21-24 September 2017 | Upper Stage
Entrance is free and on a first come, first served basis and the distribution of entrance tickets begins one (1) hour before each screening.
The issue of disability in film is as old as the art of cinema which ironically exists thanks to a human structural imperfection, the afterimage. The irony is that we are used to a stereotypical and distorted depiction of disabled people on the big screen, therefore participating silently to its perpetuation. The association of on-screen disability with “Academy award winning performances” is a journalistic cliché, while in the “golden age of Greek cinema” (which semantically ends with “Maria of Silence”) it identifies with “easy” melodrama. AIFF opens a window to a different reality, prompting the dialogue for disabled people’s obvious rights to an equal opportunities society; the right to work and create, to fall in love, to watch films in the same theatres, to survive as it is shown through four classic films and four first screening outstanding films. The Movement of Artists with Disabilities’ help in the effort to define the sociological and cinematic frame for discussion was valuable. Apart from its coordinating and institutional contribution, the Movement supplements the screenings with open discussions and also gives the activist urgency which is necessary for the desired message to overcome the trite limits of a festival section. Moreover, thanks to this collaboration, AIFF is proud to make the first screening of an audio described foreign film in Greece, opening up to an audience that is regularly deprived of the full cinematic experience. - Thodoris Karamanolis
Read more about the programme here
Thursday 21 September
17:30 | Dina
Dina and Scott, both with high-functioning autism, bear their hearts on camera before taking that final commitment step, making this one of the most unexpected and honest romances to grace the big screen in recent years. U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary.
“Dina” is much more than a depiction of the disease. It’s the moments that he overcomes his insecurities and she passionately demands what life has withheld from her. It’s the pronounced need for connection and what you decide to forsake for it.
Submerged in the light of a pale pallet and discreetly accompanied with the sappy melodies of Michael Cera (!), the film is the definite vindication of Sickles and Santini’s painful method. “Dina” is sometimes so real that it stops being a documentary. It follows the course of a relationship that even if it lacks what would make it a charming romance ends up being one of the most convincing love stories ever told on camera. U.S. Grand Jury Prize for best documentary in the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Directors: Antonio Santini, Daniel Sickles
DoP: Adam Uhl
Music: Michael Cera
Editor: Sofia Subercaseaux
Featuring: Dina Buna, Scott Levin, Frank Costanzo, Jeannie Levin, Jenny Osborne, Larry Levin
USA | 2017 | Color | DCP | 101΄ | English
19:30 | Freaks
The horror genre has never been defined by such strong visuals as the deformity of real-life “freaks” followed by the monstrous behaviour of those who torment them. The original subject of the film was responsible for ruining Browning's career, who dared to present something the world wasn't ready to see in 1933. “Freaks”, however, is generally considered to be one of the best films in the history of cinema.
This unique creation by Tod Browning is a cinematic paradox that suffered a lot maybe not only due to the obvious “blasphemy” of using real “freaks” but also because it is an example of the guilty subconscious of every revenge story, vindicating its deformed perpetrators in an impressive role reversal. “Freaks” is a story of love, faith and deep companionship in an unsightly world of circus “freaks”.
When this world clashes with a “human” world the story will inevitably become one of deception, betrayal and revenge of the real outcasts and deformed ones of this world. The phrase “she’s one of us” which marks the ending of this scary fairytale epitomizes the collective revenge in its most gruesome and unexpected form. A real cinematic monument of (in)humanity.
Following the screening, an open discussion will take place with disabled author and sociologist Andreas Kouzelis.
Director: Tod Browning
Screenwriters: Willis Goldbeck, Leon Gordon
DoP: Merritt B. Gerstad
Editor: Basil Wrangell
Principal Cast: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates
USA | 1932 | B&W | Format | 64΄ | English, German, French
Friday 22 September
17:30 | Keep the change
David is autistic and is taken to a support group against his will. It is there that he meets Sarah, an open-hearted girl who might change his life if he allows her to. Israel's award winning debut, which thrilled audiences at the Tribeca film festival, is more than just an overturning romantic comedy set against a New York backdrop, it makes a decisive statement with regards to tolerance and human diversity.
David’s weird sense of humor brings him under court order to a support group for disabled people. He meets Sarah, who’s also autistic and shows her interest openly. Rachel Israel’s first feature film is much more than a romantic comedy with amateur autistic actors.
The film feels like a documentary with its cinematic honesty; it is a funny yet emotional work of fiction that not only pulls off ideally the rom-com rules but also makes a crucial political comment regarding the visibility of people with autism and, by extension, of every social group that is still being cast out due to diversity.
An open discussion will take place after the screening with disabled psychiatrist – sexologist
Director: Rachel Israel
Screenwriter: Rachel Israel
DoP: Zachary Halberd
Music: Amie Doherty
Editor: Alex Camilleri
Principal Cast: Brandon Polansky, Samantha Elisofon, Nicky Gottlieb, Will Deaver, Jessica Walter, Tibor Feldman, Jonathan Tchaikovsky
USA | 2017 | Color | DCP | 93΄ | English
20:00 | Struggle of the Blind
On the 2nd May 1976 about 300 visually impaired people took over the “Home of the Blind”
demanding a policy change, as up to that point the establishment had been under control of the
Archdiocese of Athens. For the first time in Greece, people with disabilities overcame their
marginalisation and demanded that the government intervene while also trying to sensitize all citizens to their struggle. Mary Hatzimihali-Papaliou's documentary reached Europe making the struggle of Greek visually impaired people a matter for the whole of the civilised world to address.
In attendance of the director.
A documentary film, similar in its ambitions to the Struggle, of the team of Eight, but much more limited in its thematic breadth. The subject is the situation of the blind in our country, who, for the most part, are reduced to begging in the streets, while the Greek church rather arbitrarily manages the only asylum for the blind, in Kallithea, and at the same time tries to support their struggle for better living conditions. This struggle was manifested in their occupation of the School for the Blind and their wider conflict with all the repressive mechanisms of the state.
Director: Mary Hatzimihali-Papaliou
Screenplay: Mary Hatzimihali-Papaliou
DoP: Kostas Karamanidis, Lambros Papadimitrakis, Nikos Smaragdis, Dimitris Vernikos
Editor: Mary Hatzimihali-Papaliou, Dimitris Vernikos
Naration: Giorgos Kimoulis
Greece | 1978 | B&W | 90΄ | Greek
Saturday 23 September
17:30 | Plot 35 / Carre 35
French actor Éric Caravaca tries to find out information about the sister he never met only to discover that every trace of Charlotte has been meticulously erased. Guilty family secrets and sinful stories of the French colonies are pieces of a puzzle of dark revelations and wounds that never healed.
French actor Eric Caravaca tries to find out about a sister he’s never met, but soon he realizes that Charlotte’s trails have been erased. There are no photographs of her in his parents’ house and they even disagree over the date of her death.
In order to uncover the guilty secrets concerning Charlotte’s existence and to visit the place where she isburied, Caravaca travels to Casablanca where his family lived for years. Guilty family secrets and sinful stories of French colonies constitute the puzzle pieces of dark disclosures and wounds that never healed.
An open discussion will follow with Giorgos Nikolaidis, psychiatrist & Director of mental health and welfare at the Institute for Children's Health.
Director: Eric Caravaca
Screenwriters: Eric Caravaca, Arnaud Cathrine
DoP: Jerzy Palacz
Music: Florent Marchet
Editor: Simon Jacquet
France | 2017 | Color | DCP | 67' | French
19:30 | Defiant Lives
Activists with disabilities, in action. The Anglo-Saxon version of the fight of emancipated people and people without guardians, for social justice and a claim for their political and social rights achieved through the use of a significant body of archival material accompanied by a contemporary narrative as well as well-founded interviews with academics and activists of the disability studies field. Sarah Barton's “Defiant Lives” constitutes a guide for the emancipation of disabled people around the world, and promises 90 rewarding minutes for all those fighting for dignity and justice.
Disabled activists in action. The Anglo-saxon version of the independent and emancipated disabled people demanding social justice and incorporation of political and social rights. More than 30 disabled people from Australia, USA and the UK take a staggering journey of demand through the social model of disability. “Defiant Lives” is a guide to the emancipation of disabled people around the world.
Australian director Sarah Barton traveled to the USA and the UK to explore a film about the disability rights movement. In 8 weeks time she documented 27 interviews with disabled activists. These interviews became the basis of the documentary script. Great footage, contemporary narration and well-documented interviews of academics and activists on the study of disability promise 90 liberating minutes about those fighting for decency and justice.
An open discussion will follow with activists of the Emancipation Movement for the Disabled:
Director: Sarah Barton
Screenwriter: Sarah Barton
DoP: Sarah Barton, Joanne Donahoe-Beckwith
Music: Erin McKimm
Editor: Robert Murphy
Australia, UK | 2017 | Color | DCP | 84΄ | English
Sunday 24 September
17:30 | My Left Foot
An Academy Award success, starring the one and only Daniel Day Lewis in the role of the Irish author and painter Christy Brown, who was born with cerebral palsy and who wrote his life's story with his left foot. Digitally restored version.
Christy Brown is born with cerebral palsy in a society that knows no better than to pity him. The only part of his body he can control is his left foot which he will use to learn how to paint. The incredible story of Irish writer and painter Christy Brown was transferred on the big screen in 1989 and became an academy-award success seven years after Brown died at the age of 49.
“My left foot”, which was the directorial debut of Jim Sheridan, was based on Brown’s titular autobiographical best-selling novel, and is considered a timeless ode to human willpower. Daniel Day-Lewis gave a legendary performance which won him his first Academy Award.
Director: Jim Sheridan
Screenwriters: Shane Connaughton, Jim Sheridan
DoP: Jack Conroy
Music: Elmer Bernstein
Editor: J. Patrick Duffner
Principal Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Ray McAnally, Brenda Fricker, Fiona Shaw, Hugh O' Conor, Cyril Cusack
Ireland, UK | 1989 | Color | DCP | 103΄ | English
19:30 | The Miracle Worker (with AUDIO DESCRIPTION)
The true story of author, political activist and lecturer (the first deaf and blind person to receive a degree in Fine Arts) Helen Keller who at 19 months old found herself deaf and blind and created a method of communicating with her environment through the tenacious efforts of her instructor Annie Sullivan. Arthur Penn (“Bonnie and Clyde”) transforms Helen Keller's life story into a sensational celebration of the will to live. Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke won the Academy Awards for Actress in a Leading Role and Actress in a Supporting role respectively. Free entry
Little Helen Keller, born deaf–mute and blind, cannot communicate in a world that rejects disabled people.
Reactionary and lonely, in an environment that won’t incorporate her, she finds an eager and persistent guide in an educator’s face by the name of Anne Sullivan. Sullivan, a person with impaired vision herself, tries to build “bridges” with Helen’s soundless dark world.
Arthur Penn makes a cinematic transfer of William Gibson’s stage play and documents breathtakingly an achievement of human persistence. Avoiding sentimentalities, he reveals the magnitude of human connection when in search for a common place of hope. Anne Bancroft’s and Patty Duke’s great performances ground perfectly “the miracle” and turn it into a triumph of human effort that overcomes the “birth defect” and makes the right to life an established right again.
An open discussion will follow with Menelaos Tsaousis, Director of the Centre for Education and Rehabilitation for the Blind (CERB) and Maria Zeza Head of the Kallithea School for Deaf & Blind (CERB).
Director: Arthur Penn
Screenwriter: William Gibson
DoP: Ernesto Caparros
Music: Laurence Rosenthal
Editor: Aram Avakian
Principal Cast: Anne Bancroft, Patty Duke, Victor Jory, Inga Swenson, Andrew Prine
USA | 1962 | B&W | 35mm | 106΄ | English