The American Academy of Neurology’s contest for neurology-related films has produced a crop of winning short films on YouTube. You can view the playlist at:
On the Documentary Channel at 4 p.m. on July 25:
Chris Rohrlach is not your typical Australian sheep farmer. Willing to try anything to keep wife Rachel out of long-term care, he decides to open a brothel. Nothing has ever stopped Chris and Rachel from doing exactly what they’ve wanted, so outrage from the community doesn’t faze them one bit. A quadriplegic with neurological impairment for all of their 14 married years, Rachel is still Rachel to Chris, and the love of his life. As the camera captures the construction and grand opening of the best little whorehouse in the outback, the film exposes tension between Chris’ indomitable plans to keep his family afloat and Rachel’s own wishes. Reliant on others to translate her eye movements into words, the film creates a novel friction between Rachel’s opaque desires and their secondhand expression. Moving, thought provoking and surprisingly funny.
A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism is a sweeping documentary endeavoring to show snippets of daily life in families containing one or more autistic children in the USA, Iceland, and a smattering of other European countries. Added to each “slice of life’ in each family is a portrayal of the available interventions and major research centers dealing with autism which are in the home country of that family, or otherwise accessible to that family.
However, there is “the rub”: a great deal of research is being done on autism, and lots of knowledge has been accumulated in recent years, but using it to produce a cure, or develop better interventions is a long way off, and a dubious hope at best.
Temple Grandin is featured as a sound-bite-giving expert utilizing both her personal experiences and professional capacity to elucidate some of the behaviors of autistic children and the way in which their neurological systems work.
A method of teaching and intervention which is perhaps unfamiliar to many Americans connected with autism in some way is explained and demonstrated during the course of this documentary. Soma Mukhopadhyay, who developed the Rapid Prompting Method in order to better facilitate her autistic son’s contact with and functioning in the world, is another featured expert in this picture. The fact that the DVD includes a list of websites dealing with both research and teaching methods for autism is potentially helpful for those who want more detailed knowledge than the broad overview given in the feature.