What would life be like without language? For too many deaf people raised in rural outposts, access to a sign-language community is denied and they are condemned to a life without words.
Such injustice deserves our attention and is explored with care in this haunting story of two deaf siblings, Dulce Maria (28) and Francisco (22), who have been raised their entire lives without access to any written, spoken, or signed language on a farm in northern Nicaragua. They are visited by a Deaf sign-language teacher who works for a local NGO and is determined to teach the siblings their first words. As the two begin their awakening to language, their resistance is clear, but so is their marvel at the teacher and this process.
Their stories are interwoven with the economic and familial history of their family. As we enter their isolated world, uncomfortable questions arise about education, psychology, language, ethics, class, and NGO work.
With an unsettling mix of tragedy and hope, this moving work avoids hard and fast answers to the challenging questions it poses.
"The film, flowing with sublime images, is as poignant as it is captivating. We follow the awakening of Dulce Maria and Francisco with our heart hurting and a tight smile on our lips. Their "lives without words" reveal more than thousands of books. Not to be missed for anything." -- La Depeche du Midi "A masterpiece of aesthetic images and a plea for language as a fundamental human right." -- DOK.fest Munich "A film of beautiful images and deep pain. It delves into the world of rural Latin America with a view that is neither anthropological nor paternalistic." -- El Otro Cine "It makes you think about how extraordinary it is to have language... It's beautifully done." -- Faye Ginsburg, anthropologist
Filmmaker: Adam Isenberg
Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards: Winner, Margaret Mead Filmmakers Award, Margaret Mead Film Festival, New York, 2012 Winner, Prix Documentaire, Cinelatino Rencontres de Toulouse, France, 2012 Winner, Prix Lyceen, Cinelatino Rencontres de Toulouse, France, 2012 Special Mention - Emerging International Filmmaker, Open City London Documentary Film Festival, U.K., 2012 Havana Film Festival, Cuba, 2012 DOK.fest International Documentary Film Festival, Germany, 2012 Istanbul International Film Festival, Turkey, 2012 Douarnenez Film Festival, France, 2012 Beeld voor Beeld Film Festival, Netherlands, 2012
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