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La Famille Bélier: how not to do a movie with Deaf characters


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This article’s aim is to offer more of an in-depth analysis on the issues surrounding the movie “La Famille Bélier”, following my first article. If you would like to read my review of the movie itself, you can go there.

Following my first article a few days ago, I went to see “La Famille Bélier”. In the meantime, new articles (besides the ones that were already up when I wrote mine) started popping up about the movie and criticising it for the same reasons I did.

On the other hand, an overwhelming amount of articles praised the movie, either unaware of the context or brushing it off partially or entirely. Rebecca Atkinson’s article for The Guardian has even been commented on as being “French bashing”, and several consider she is being severe and harsh. Articles in French: TF1, Le Figaro, 20minutes, Actu-mag or Premiere.fr for examples of articles that picked up on her critique. I quite like how many newspapers managed to make an article out of thin air by simply quoting from Rebecca Atkinson’s and adding a couple of sentences to the effect of “the British are being mean to us, boohoo”.


La Famille Bélier: Deaf People on screen?


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For the past couple of days, I've had several debates over Facebook regarding a French movie that has just gone out.

The movie is called "La Famille Bélier" aka in English "The Ram Family". No, they're not a bunch of rams roaming about in a farm (though they do live in a farm... I've just realised what they did there), it's just their last name. Apparently it's supposed to make it sound like they are strong-willed and stuff. Or something like that…

I will go watch this movie, seeing as I'm in France for the holidays. The movie is branded as a box office success, which they want to surpass "Les Intouchables" ("The Untouchables"). By the way, what these have in common is that, you know, the bloke in "The Untouchables" was in a wheelchair, in this movie the parents in the family are Deaf, so we have one big category of movies. "What's better than a movie about the disabled to surpass a movie about the disabled." Sorry, sarcasm off for a minute.