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As Seen On Screen? Picturehouse film season to highlight representations of deaf and disabled people

The Sessions

Story by Jack Foley

PICTUREHOUSE Education is present a series of screenings across London in June that begin to explore how disability has been represented in cinema.

Focusing on Hollywood dramas exploring love, war, sex and societal attitudes from the 1940s to today, this selection of films and talks delves into the history of disability on screen.

The As Seen On Screen? season is part of the Access Cinema programme supported by Film London through National Lottery Funding on behalf of the BFI.

The selection of films and talks has been curated by Richard Rieser, co-ordinator of the UK Disability History Festival and author of the BFI publication Disabling Imagery.

The films being screened are:

Children Of A Lesser God (15)
USA 1986, 116 mins

Greenwich Picturehouse: Monday, June 10, 6.20 In English with HOH subtitles

Director: Randa Haines.
Starring: William Hurt, Marlee Matlin, Piper Laurie

When a speech teacher falls for the custodian in a small New England school for the deaf, their conflicting views on deafness make him question his role and attitude to his students.

Notable not only for its subject matter but also for its social context, Children Of A Lesser God featured the only deaf actor to win an Oscar – at 21 Marlee Matlin was also the youngest person ever to win the Best Actress Academy Award.

Speaker: Christine O’Mahony, disability equality and diversity expert

The Sessions (15) (pictured above)
USA 2012, 95 mins

The Ritzy: Saturday, June 15, 2.00 In English with HOH subtitles

Director: Ben Lewin.
Starring: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy

In this sensitively humorous and entertaining film, John Hawkes plays a quadriplegic, while Helen Hunt gives arguably her boldest performance yet as the sex therapist he hires to help him lose his virginity.

Speaker: Richard Rieser, co-ordinator of UK Disability History Month

The Best Years Of Our Lives (U)
USA 1947, 172 mins

Hackney Picturehouse: Sunday, June 16, 1.00 In English with HOH subtitles

Director: William Wyler.
Starring: Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Dana Andrews

This multi-award-winning film follows three United States servicemen as they try to piece their lives back together and face the changes that they and their families have gone through both physically and mentally after coming home from World War II.

Winner of Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, this post-war classic is still relevant to audiences today.

Speaker: Lucy Mason, youth trainer and disability equality campaigner