Sight and Signs: Deaf in CinemaOctober 18, 2009
Silent O with Dinig Sana Kita, Puntod and River of Dreams, under the Sights and Sights Program of the CineManila International Film Festival on-going until October 25 are scheduled this week. This is the first-time ever that a local film festival slated a program focused on Deaf people. By doing so, it will lift their esteem somehow. I believe that showing Deaf persons in films as “equals” to hearing persons will greatly help in empowering them. In the past, Deaf are included in Filipino films only in bit or supporting roles, and most of the time as “laughing stock” or to give comic relief to the extent of degrading the character of a Deaf person. Romalito Mallari [Deaf] in Dinig Sana Kita (2oo9) by Mike Sandejas for example, the latest film with Deaf as one of the main characters proved that Deaf persons are “equals” or maybe better and happier than hearing persons for failing to really “hear” the other.
My film Silent Odyssey on the other hand is a straight advocacy film promoting equality, and stressing on the importance of sign language to the Deaf, afterall it is what sets them apart from persons with disabilities. That there is such thing as LINGUISTIC HUMAN RIGHTS, that Deaf is a CULTURAL-LINGUISTIC minority group with their own language. That they have HISTORY. Deaf signs express their hearts, their minds, their souls. Besides, sign language is beautiful, enjoyable to sign, and I think better to learn than any foreign language because it teaches the learner too how to be physically [bodily] and visually [facially] be more expressive. Signs and body language merge.
I honestly haven’t seen the two other films in the program. Anyway, see the schedule below: