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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Representation or stereotype? Deaf audience devastated by film

In many ways, the success of CODA, a drama about a deaf family with a hearing daughter, is a success for deaf audiences: the film won on Sunday, March 27. Best Film Award, Its screenwriter and director, Sean Heder, won Best Adapted Screenplay Awardand Troy Kotsur took Best Supporting Actor AwardHe became the first deaf man to win an Oscar for his performance.

But in interviews and on social media, some deaf people and hearing children of deaf adults, known as CODA (children of deaf adults) and also listening to children of deaf parents, say feeling lonely,

Although he hopes the moment will lead to better recognition and open doors for greater representation across Hollywood, he believes The film looks at deaf people from the point of view of hearing His approach to interpretation for the deaf and its relation to music, among other problems.

He won Best Supporting Actor in "Koda" along with Troy Kotsur, Oscar.  Photo Frederick J. Brown / AFP

He won Best Supporting Actor in “Koda” along with Troy Kotsur, Oscar. Photo Frederick J. Brown / AFP

In some cases, this “hearing eye”, as some have called it, gives rise to scenes that may resonate with the listening audience, but are meaningless to deaf viewers Or even bother them.

harmful message

Deaf media critic Jenna Beacom, who often serves as a consultant on writing projects with deaf characters, says she wishes the film “won every award.” But he continued: “There’s a lot of really hurtful messages in this movie, so there’s this conflict. I don’t want messages like this to come to light, I don’t want them to take root.”

based on a french film 2014 call belier familyThe remake focuses on the tension between teenager Ruby’s desire to sing in general and her deaf parents’ refusal to support her dream.

Ruby’s parents, Frank and Jackie (Kotesur and Marlee Matlin), rely on her to interpret for them at work, at town hall meetings, in court, and at doctors’ offices, and They worry about how to get along without it,

When Jenna Beacom first saw the film’s trailer, she thought the story must be set in the past. It was the only justification he could think of for Frank and Jackie, relying on Ruby (Emilia Jones). Professional interpreters, which are mandatory Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.

Acknowledging that interpreter services are not always provided and that in a pinch many children act as interpreters, Beacom said that in the script There is no mention that this was the last resort for the family,

The film also shows deaf people with difficulty communicating through video relay services, mobile phone apps, lip reading, or other methods such as plain old standbys of pencil and paper.

Sean Heder, "CODA" director and screenwriter, with his Oscar.  There are backlashes against it.  afp photo

Sean Heder, “CODA” director and screenwriter, with his Oscar. There are backlashes against it. afp photo

deafness as a burden

“Deafness is seen as a burden for both deaf people and their poor, overworked daughter, Koda, and it is not,” says Beacom. Many deaf people manage extremely independently and able.

director Sean Heder refused to answer questions of criticism raised in deaf circles, In other interviews, he has stated that while writing the script he researched deaf communities, learned some American Sign Language (AFL), hired interpreters who were CODAs, and used consultants throughout the filming process.

in production notes codaHeder said there were three children of deaf adults on the set of the film positive response to the film, “It’s a great feeling, because doubt always appears when you enter the world and the experience of someone you don’t know,” he remarked in the notes.

In addition, Heder has received recognition, including some critics, for his decision to cast deaf actors in deaf roles and to clearly display sign language on screen.

Leila Holcomb, 34, of Frederick, Maryland, is deaf and non-binary, and says the experience of deafness can be complicated.

A scene from the three-time Oscar winning film "CODA".

A scene from the three-time Oscar winning film “CODA”.

Because many deaf people grew up in speaking environments, some do not learn sign communication until later in life and experience language deficits, so they may have limited awareness of the authority of interpreters or they may never master the languageAs he tells.

In any case, coda It was difficult for them to see. ,Obviously the film was not written by a deaf person.“, they repeat.

cry, but not with emotion

Holcomb mentions that in some scenes They cried, but not because they were affected by the drama, The break occurs when Frank wants to know what Ruby sounds like and puts his hand on her throat as she sings.

While this may sound like an emotional gesture to the listening public, Holcomb makes it clear that Act has no meaning for deaf people, That vibration is perceived as a telephone ringtone and could not give Frank any clue whether Betty’s voice is beautiful or not.

Instead, the same gesture reminded Holcomb that speech therapy was used to try to teach deaf people to speak, a stressful endeavor that can be embarrassingdifficult and often ends in failure. From what he said, these sessions are considered “painful for many deaf people”.

Like Frank in the film, Beacom and Holcombe have children who love to sing. To find out what their children’s singing sounds like, they both say that He simply asked the people listening to describe it, And while many deaf people love music, the idea that they may not enjoy it is a figure that is seen over and over in Hollywood.

Daughter and mother in "Koda".  Many deaf people complain about the film.

Daughter and mother in “Koda”. Many deaf people complain about the film.

it is based on the idea that deaf people are missing somethingAlthough most people don’t focus too much on their inability to hear music, says Lenard Davis, deaf and dumb and author of several books on disability and deafness. makes it eligible Within the movie “Fake Problem”,

Davis said that he liked that the film focused on real CODA problems, such as not being able to turn to his parents in times of crisis or act as interpreters in very troubled moments Or emotionally charged to them.

an offensive scene

One scene that particularly bothered him is one that is meant to be funny., Frank suffers from jock itch, and Jackie is at the doctor, with Ruby translating for them. After Frank reveals humorous details about his genitals, the doctor advises against sex for two weeks. But Ruby tells the parents that they should abstain from sex forever.

To Lenard Davis, Deaf parents become a jokeAnd this scene highlights what CODA goes through when they play their parents in a pinch.

The cast of "Koda" celebrating after winning three Oscars: Film, Screenplay and Supporting Actor.  ap photo

The cast of “Koda” celebrating after winning three Oscars: Film, Screenplay and Supporting Actor. ap photo

“I had to tell my mom that her father had died,” Davis recalls. “In any case, the tragedy of the difficulty of being CODA is that, no Such ha-ha let’s laugh at the parents And this situation,” he continued.

Adrian Bailey, 39, a CODA from Bristol, England, He also said that the scene was objectionable., A few years ago, Bailey’s father was admitted to an emergency room and had to be translated to tell the father that he was nearly dead.

Bailey acknowledged that when some children find themselves in awkward or awkward acting situations, “as a community, we can laugh about it together, but Expose it to a world of listeners who don’t understand these things, it’s not right, I think it’s over the limit.”

He didn’t go mad at the Cyan header though. He acknowledges that making films about deaf culture – especially for an outsider – can be difficult, which can involve a whole range of experiences. But he also announced that he doesn’t want Hollywood to shy away from the challenge. Rather, it urges the industry to provide more support for deaf creators and CODA.

Caleb Robinson, a deaf student at Gallaudet University in Washington and an aspiring screenwriter, agrees and refers to a scene he claims a deaf person would never have written,

At the end of the film, Frank encourages Ruby to go to college by saying one word out loud: “Come on.” But, according to Robinson, this makes using voice more meaningful than using sign language, and it seems redundant to talk after Ruby and her father have previously communicated with each other using ASL.

Sean Heder, screenwriter and director of "CODA," with his Oscar.  afp photo

Sean Heder, screenwriter and director of “CODA,” with his Oscar. afp photo

In general, Caleb thinks that coda “It’s not bad” and he knows that many deaf people support the film because it has deaf actors and sign language. However, he believes that he may be too afraid to openly criticize it because very few productions dealing with deaf people have achieved this level of success among mass audiences; Nobody wants to ruin the film.

“But I guess we could ask for a little more,” says Caleb Robinson: “It’s time we write our own narrativesNot listening.”

Source: The New York Times

Translation: Roman Garcia Azcarte


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Reference from clarin www.clarin.com

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