Winner of Sundance’s US Documentary Directing Award, this formidable, deeply personal piece of filmmaking inhabits the perspective of disability.
When a circus tent goes up near the Oakland apartment of filmmaker Reid Davenport, who has cerebral palsy, he is compelled to consider the history and legacy of the ‘freak show’ – and the ways in which the disability community has either attracted an unwanted gaze or been rendered invisible by society. Shooting from his wheelchair, Davenport sets out to make a film about how he sees the world, taking the audience inside his experience as a disabled artist.
The images captured in I Didn’t See You There are both profound and disorientating – from Davenport’s lowered vantage point, the camera catches glimpses of a cloudless sky, an obstructed ramp or an abstracted pavement, sometimes to a frenzied percussive score – resulting in a mesmerising, rhythmic assembly of sound and vision. Powerfully embodying the link between subjectivity and societal (dis)advantage, this exemplar of empathetic art-making asks us to consider everyday life from a perspective too often neglected or misunderstood.
Certainly one of the most personal stories from this year … First-person poetry in captivating motion, expressed with a singular, assured artistic voice.
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