Music in a deaf world

Last night I saw the French film “La Famille Belier” at the cinema with a friend. It’s about Paula, a farmer’s daughter with deaf parents, who discovers she has a singing talent. Her family depends on her as a go-between in the world of the hearing and they fear losing her to that world when Paula wants to pursue her dreams in Paris.

It’s a comedy but also a drama and this confusion of genres works quite well. This genre confusion sometimes did make the film feel a little uneven, desperately angling for laughs when maybe they weren’t always needed. Regardless of that, it is a beautiful film and the audition at the end of the film – I defy anyone to not break down in tears at that point. Such a very touching moment!

The film made me think of another (German) film from 1996 called “Jenseits der Stille”. It deals with exactly the same topic, only “Jenseits der Stille” is about a girl who is a very talented clarinet player and wants to go to a conservatory in Berlin. I was only able to find a German trailer for that on YouTube:

This film is up there with my favorite films ever, Famille Belier can’t beat that yet, and I have watched it many times over the years. It never fails to touch me to the core and also features some beautiful Klezmer (Jewish) music by Giora Feidmann (who I once saw in concert).

There are many parallels between “Stille” and “Bellier”, so if you enjoy the one, I am sure you would enjoy the other as well. Go check them out even if they only tickle your fancy a little bit! 🙂

Helen Keller speaks!

Long long ago, as a teen, I came across the story of Helen Keller, who as a blind and deaf-mute girl was taught to communicate through sign language, she learned Braille and was even taught to speak by her teacher Annie Sullivan. I read Helen Keller’s autobiography “The Story of my Life”, I saw “The Miracle Worker” film (the one with Patty Duke and the later one with Melissa Gilbert in a TV movie) and loved how a troubled child’s mind and soul was opened up and set free through the gift of learning to communicate with the outside world! Helen Keller was a remarkable woman.

I haven’t thought of Helen Keller in a long long time, but the other day I was alerted (through a social media feed) to this video and was immediately so struck by it:

Helen Keller talking and there is video footage too! Apparently it’s not new footage but it was new to me,

And: there even is a whole YouTube channel with Helen Keller footage…

I am pretty busy right now, but I sure know what I will be doing with some spare time I have these coming days (apart from listening to the love poems read by Richard Armitage): watch actual Helen Keller footage!