So, I watched the movie Babel tonight. It is pretty awesome and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes complicated and/or sad movies.
Anywho, on the the point of this post. One of the main characters in the movie is deaf/mute. (I don’t know that…
I completely agree about the movie Babel and Chieko… I thought that they DID portray some aspects of her life really well, and others not so great. I love that she had a good time with her friends! I have DEFINITELY been in the same situation at a bar or club where guys freak out and run in the other direction when they realize I’m deaf… it’s very demoralizing, to say the least. It can be very lonely (and of course this is exacerbated by the fact that her father isn’t home often). I didn’t really find her character to be sad so much as *angry* and *lonely*.
I do think that it is ridiculous that people boil her character down to “the deaf girl.” Yes, that’s probably what stands out most about her. But I think most people think she’s the most fucked up character and use the deafness for part of the reason why.
And I think it’s interesting that everyone thinks it’s the deafness that makes this true. I don’t at all. I think it’s the reactions of others to her deafness that makes her unhappy, lonely, and angry. Like stated earlier, we’re human! And being treated like we’re < human because we’re deaf is painful! People can say that we aren’t treated as subhuman, but there are definitely times I have felt that way.
We have just as much want to communicate with other people as anyone else. The fact that people RUN from us when we point to our ear and shake our heads is degrading. I WANTED to know what you had to say, but apparently I’m too scary for you to stay anywhere near me.
((that being said, that is not the case with all people. There was a girl at the bus stop tonight who knew a little ASL and we had a great conversation!!))
Babel leaves me with very mixed feelings. I do understand why they used a hearing actor, but I think the excuse of language barriers gets used way too often for why hearing actors are used for deaf parts. Of course there’s an added layer here with Japanese (not only the difference in language, but also the difference in culture- culture plays a big part in most sign languages and you have to interpret information through the cultural filter going both ways), but I do think it’s why most movies and/or television and/or media use hearing people instead of deaf people. For this day and age… that’s just a really dumb reason.