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FLEFF Intern Voices

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view

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Posted by Cassandra Moore at 12:51AM
Shoulder the Lion poster

Sitting down to watch Shoulder the Lion reaffirmed the statement that certain films need to be witnessed on the “big screen” in a cinema space to create a full experience. The stories that established the core of the documentary follows three artists whose artistic lives navigate their physical experiences through the complex and often uncomfortable motions of human existence. Each of the participants within the film do art via photographs, sculpture and music. Using those vague generalizations of person who fulfills a certain role in one’s mind, a specific picture is painted of who these people are. They are artists primarily. Alice Wingwall is a photographer. Katie Dallam is a sculptor. And Graham Sharpe is a musician.

But when the narrative throws words into the mix that start to assert functionality to a person or method, the picture changes. When words like blind, mentally disabled, and deaf are introduced we start to breakdown and compartmentalize an individual. How do they create still images if one cannot physically see? Why does a person whose mind experienced damaging blows desire to create tangible artifacts of trauma? What does the musician do when they tunes are falling flat to an internal ringing that drowns out the sounds of harmony?

This film elegantly guides viewers through the labyrinth of being that includes all of the hardships and layers of existence. Many films tend that include narratives that are commonly referred to as disability stories are told in ways that are not an accurate portrait of an individual. More often than not the story showcases a life with a disability rather than life existing in a way that also needs to make accommodations in a world that strictly caters to a narrowly defined ableist means. The complexities that our personal landscapes offer us often come with a set of prescriptions from society that lead one to believe they must act or do in relation to other aspects of their identity that necessarily are not relatable.  It directs focus on the definitions of self expression and being that follow us through lived realities in meta physical ways as well as tangible realities. 

Many films tend that include narratives that are commonly referred to as disability stories are told in ways that are not an accurate portrait of an individual. More often than not the story showcases a life with a disability rather than life existing in a way that also needs to make accommodations in a world that strictly caters to a narrowly defined ableist means.



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