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Moments of liberation and barriers: cinematic stories far from clichés – Paralympics Newspaper

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Protagonists with disabilities are still rare in film and television, even though about 15 percent of the world’s population has a disability. However, when films and series portray people with disabilities, they often use certain narratives that reproduce stereotypes. For example, the characters are often the humorous companions of the able-bodied main characters or are portrayed as needy. In addition, these roles are mostly played by actors without disabilities, although there are actors with disabilities who are also exposed to greater obstacles in the labor market. But there are series and movies that break with the clichés and tell beautiful stories.

1 meter 20 (Metrotwenty)

The Argentine short series Metroveinte is about Juana, 17, who moves from Buenos Aires to Córdoba. With the move, she also leaves her friends in Córdoba and has to go to a new school. Juana is in a wheelchair but wants to explore her sexuality independently. The series is about physical first love, growing up, and also social activism when she was young. The special feature: not only the lead actress Marisol Irigoyen, but also the co-writer and director Rosario Perazolo Masjoan have a disability and use a wheelchair.

To be seen in art

Sex education

Britain’s coming-of-age series has only been around for a few years, but it already has a bit of a cult status. At the center of the action are the youngsters of Moordale High School and their problems with the conservative administration of their school, their concerned parents and, above all, their own relationships and feelings. Isaac Goodwin is a young adult who is quadriplegic and uses a wheelchair to get around. Like all the other characters, he is portrayed in different facets, he acts selfish and caring, sometimes he is a villain and then a sympathizer, he has talents and hobbies. Actor George Robinson has been a paraplegic since he was young. The series also offers a glimpse into the romantic life of a person with a spinal cord injury. In a Season 3 episode, the character Isaac and teenage Maeve become intimate and communicate while interacting and touching.

To be seen on Netflix


37 seconds

Yuma did not breathe for 37 seconds after he was born. She today is 17 years old and a talented manga artist in Japan. Until now, she has been secretly working for a famous author, but Yuma’s success is due to Yuma’s talent. Yuma, who has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair, wants to finally start publishing manga under her own name. In order to work at a publisher that focuses on pornographic manga, she first wants to explore her own sexuality, break up with her overprotective mother, and at the same time change her life. “37 Seconds” shows the moments of liberation and the barriers that young people face as they grow up. It is the first film starring Mei Kayama, who also has cerebral palsy.

To be seen on Netflix


metal sound

“Sound of Metal” was nominated for Oscars in six categories in 2021. It’s a story that has probably never been seen on the big screen before: drummer Ruben, played by Riz Ahmed, travels from place to place to play with his girlfriend Lou. However, during a sound check, the musician loses his hearing. Fearing that Rubén, who used to be a drug addict, could relapse due to fate, Lou manages to take him to a shared apartment where only deaf people live. Rubén manages to find more and more his place there, while he goes through a multitude of emotions. He hopes that his audience will return. However, “Sound of Metal” does not fall into a spiral of pity from the outside: it is about accepting one’s disability and finding people who have a similar disability. It is criticized that the actor Riz Ahmed plays a deaf character as a person without disabilities. However, some of the minor characters are deaf or fluent in sign language.

Seen on Amazon Prime


switched at birth

The series is about Daphne, who discovers that she was switched in the hospital as a baby and was not raised in her biological family. In the series, American Sign Language is used extensively by the actors and actresses in addition to spoken language. Lead actress Katie Leclerc is also hard of hearing.

Seen on Amazon Prime





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